New Delhi: The beleaguered Indian Premier League (IPL) is likely to add two new franchises to keep the number of competing teams at eight, as insisted by its chairman Rajiv Shukla.
In yet another hectic day, the Governing Council (GC) of the premier T20 cricket league on Sunday decided to form a working group of six members to decide the future course of action – including the fate of now suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.
In the wake of Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha Committee’s verdict, the best feasible way left for the organisers of the cash-rich tournament – the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) – is to conduct a fresh franchise auction, if at all the league is to have eight teams like in the previous editions.
Here, the BCCI's indecision and the subsequent referring of the matter to a working group may delay the implementation of the apex court directive. It's also notable that during the meeting, some members reportedly expressed their reservations on terminating the two franchises fearing possible long-drawn legal battle.
What complicates the matter, however, is BCCI's declaration after the hour-long Governing Council meeting held at Mumbai headquarters that it will respect the Lodha committee verdict and buying a further six-week time period.
"BCCI respects the verdict of the Lodha Commission and will abide by their decisions, in toto. The members recognised that there is an urgent need to understand the impact of this decision and the wider ramifications for BCCI in detail, so as to uphold the paramountcy of the game in our country," a BCCI statement read.
The probability of ignoring the SC directive and allowing CSK and RR to compete in the league is out of question. If the Indian cricket board is to tow the clean-up line and also have an eight-team IPL, then getting two more franchises look the only viable option left.
Earlier, Justice Lodha referred to the Clause 11.3 (c) of the BCCI-IPL to clarify the confusion surrounding the legalities in terminating the indicted franchises.
The clause says the agreement can be terminated if "the Franchise, any Franchise Group Company and/or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the League, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/or the game of cricket."
In between, the IPL GC had authorised Shukla to constitute the members of the working group and their names will be announced on Monday.