New Delhi: The ninth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to see two new teams take the field after the BCCI on Sunday said it will float a tender and invite bids for new franchises to replace the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for the next two years of the popular twenty20 tournament.

The BCCI said that it will implement in toto the interim report of the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha committee, which recommends the suspension of the owners of both CSK and RR for two seasons following a betting scandal. The two suspended franchises will return for the 2018 edition, the cricket board said after a working committee meeting in Mumbai on Sunday. The decision to draft in two-new teams for two years means that the IPL would remain an eight-team league.

The names and composition of the two new teams are not known. However, following the Lodha Committee’s recommendations in July, several leading business figures and corporate houses had expressed their interest in bidding for the franchises. According to media reports, they included Gautam Adani (Adani Group), Venugopal Dhoot (Videocon Group), Harsh Goenka (RPG Group), PVP Ventures and the JSW Group.

The BCCI also announced that Vivo Mobile India, the Indian arm of Guangdong-based Chinese mobile communications firm Vivo Electronics Ltd will replace PepsiCo as the title sponsor of the IPL for the next two seasons. Vivo, as per a BCCI media release, is to give the bank guarantee in the next ten days." The move comes after PepsiCo confirmed its intention to exit the title sponsorship of the IPL earlier this month, citing concerns over the BCCI’s handling of the IPL betting and spot-fixing controversy and its aftermath.

Vivo, as per a BCCI media release, “is to give the bank guarantee in the next ten days."

Vivo Mobile India officials, currently in China, were unavailable for comment.

In 2012, PepsiCo paid Rs.396.8 crore or $71.77 million for the IPL’s title sponsorship between 2013 and 2017. As per the contract, PepsiCo paid Rs. 206 crore for the first three years and was supposed to pay Rs. 190 crore for the remainder of the five-year deal. PepsiCo has paid the BCCI a bank guarantee of Rs. 78 crore.

Vipul Prakash, Vice President, Beverages Category, PepsiCo India, said, “The BCCI and PepsiCo have had a longstanding and cordial relationship. Post our discussions, it has been mutually agreed that PepsiCo will be assigning its title rights of the IPL to Vivo Mobile India."

He added, “PepsiCo has been associated with cricket in India for the last 25 years and we immensely value its contributions to the success of our brands. We will continue to associate with sports and cricket as a platform to connect with our consumers. We congratulate Vivo Mobile India and wish them good luck."

Sunday’s working committee meeting also saw the BCCI notify its earlier decision to engage Deloitte Consulting LLP to undertake ‘Project Transformation.’

In a detailed e-mail response to queries about the project, the BCCI said, “The BCCI has certain standard operating procedures (SOPs) but considering the scale of its operations, a need was felt to have the SOPs vetted by an outside agency to make them more exhaustive."

It added, “The BCCI wanted to strengthen its internal processes to make them more transparent and system-oriented. The objective is to get the required information by the decision makers at the earliest transparently."

“Project Transformation will support corporate governance and increase transparency in functioning. This will be an on-going exercise and moving forward, there will be regular assessment of how the SOPs are followed, and a software that integrates all the functions of the BCCI will be developed."

The board also decided to appoint another leading auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers as the independent agency to conduct due diligence of the “utilisation of funds provided by the BCCI to the state associations." Each year, the BCCI gives its state associations between Rs. 24 crore and Rs. 30 crore each as grants for the development of the sport.

Since taking over as BCCI chief earlier this month, Shashank Manohar has promised a plethora of reforms, largely aimed at cleaning up the image of the BCCI and increasing transparency. On Sunday, the BCCI announced more such moves, including uploading information such names of players who have been paid a one-time benefit from the BCCI and the amount; information on medical benefit schemes for retired cricketers and umpires; and all payments made by the BCCI of more than Rs. 25 lakh.

The Annual General Meeting of the BCCI, it was announced, will be held in Mumbai on 9 November. Among the key issues on the agenda is the proposed amendment of the BCCI’s constitution to address issues like conflict of interest and the appointment of an ombudsman to look into these issues.

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