HC orders appointment of arbitrator in WSG-BCCI dispute

Mumbai: Observing that World Sports Group (WSG) had not committed fraud at the time of entering into a contract with BCCI, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed appointment of an arbitrator to decide the Mauritius-based company`s case challenging termination of its agreement by the cricket board.

A division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and Amjad Sayed was hearing an appeal filed by WSG against a single bench order dismissing its plea against BCCI`s decision to terminate contract between them.

"Prima facie, WSG had not committed fraud upon BCCI in connection with the agreements. The contracts were in fact brought to the notice of all the members of the board," the judgment said.

The bench directed appointment of an arbitrator within a month to hear and finally decide the case. "Till the arbitrator is appointed, BCCI is restrained from giving the contract to anyone. The board has also made a statement that they will not create any third party rights till then," the order said.

The court observed, "Simply because the person (Lalit Modi) who was the signatory to the contract is replaced or removed it would not be proper to terminate all the contracts signed by the earlier chairman or commissioner of IPL."

WSG and BCCI had entered into an agreement in March 2008 wherein WSG was awarded world rights for one billion US dollars to telecast Indian Premiere League (IPL) matches for the period of 2008 to 2017 and telecast rights for the Indian sub-continent for the period of 2013 to 2017.