Mumbai: The governing council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) said on Sunday that it would repeat the bidding process for the two new IPL teams that will join the league next year and dropped stiff qualification criteria for franchisees after failing to attract sufficient interest.

“The governing council decided that it should let more companies participate in the bidding because there were only three companies—Adani Group, Videocon and Jaypee Group—which had submitted their bids, despite 10 companies having picked up the tender documents," said a member of the IPL governing council, who did not want to be identified.

The decision came as a surprise to potential bidders such as Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon, Bollywood stars Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, and representatives of the Jaypee Group, among others, who were present at the venue, Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai, waiting for the tenders to be opened. The tender were returned to the bidders unopened.

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The revised ITT (invitation to tender) document will now be available on 9 March, and the fresh bids will be opened at 11am on 21 March in Chennai. “The new document will have some new conditions which the IPL governing council believes will benefit IPL and Indian cricket in the long term," said Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of IPL.

The governing council removed two contentious clauses, one requiring potential franchisees to demonstrate a net worth of $1billion (Rs4,580 crore) and another that required winners to deposit an advance guarantee of $100 million. In the new tender, winners will pay an advance guarantee of $10 million and then 10% of the bid amount within 48 hours.

“The base price ($225 million) is not an issue, in fact we were thinking of making it higher," said Modi.

The stringent conditions, especially the $1 billion net worth clause, had eliminated many potential bidders, said a bidder who requested anonymity.

The relaxed norms will increase competition. “We’re not very concerned about the bid price going up. It is a branding proposition for us, but it also has to make business sense," said Atul Chordia, chairman and chief executive of Panchshil Realty, part of the consortium bidding for the Pune team. The consortium includes Dhoot, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Karisma Kapoor.

“It has to be commercially viable, we are answerable to our shareholders," Chordia said.

Adani Group’s spokesperson also said that the group would look at the revised terms and conditions and “accordingly decide to bid for an IPL team".

George Muthoot, director of the Kerala-based Muthoot Pappachan Group, also said that it would “assess the new terms and conditions and the board will decide".

Some new bidders said that even though they were entering the fray three years later and at higher prices, there was still enough value.

“We may not necessarily be at an advantage, but there is definitely tremendous scope for growth," said Nandan Piramal, a director of the Ashok Piramal Group, pointing to a number of IPL teams whose valuations had doubled, if not tripled, in two years.

The Ashok Piramal Group is part of a consortium that includes the Jaypee Group, Shree Ram Group of Industries, Rosy Blue India Pvt. Ltd and Anchor Electricals Pvt. Ltd, which is bidding for Kochi.

Potential franchisees can bid for cities that include Pune, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Kanpur, Dharamsala, Vizag, Rajkot, Cuttack, Baroda, Kochi, Indore and Gwalior.