Cricket board to patch up with IMG on IPL contract

Cricket board to patch up with IMG on IPL contract

New Delhi: The Third Umpire has no-balled the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), rendering infructuous its dismissal of IMG as the promoting agency of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 spectacular.

BCCI will scrap its decision to terminate the 10-year contract with IMG at the board’s annual general meeting (AGM) on 24 September, three senior executives with the sport’s governing body said on condition of anonymity.

A new agreement is expected to be signed and is most likely to include a fixed Rs33 crore annual payment to IMG, as against the 10% of IPL’s yearly revenue agreed upon in the original contract signed between the two parties in September 2007.

“Upon recommendation from BCCI president, we are reopening talks with IMG and the final decision will be announced at our AGM," said Rajeev Shukla, chairman of the media and finance committees at BCCI. The board isn’t scouting for a replacement agency just yet, he added.

BCCI’s decision to reopen talks comes after the termination move came in for a hostile barrage from seven of IPL’s eight franchises, agriculture minister and former board president Sharad Pawar, league boss Lalit Modi and broadcast partner Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd.

“There has been a lot of pressure on us to reconsider the IMG contract, but the truth is that neither BCCI nor IMG can do without this contract. A new deal is being decided upon and we will reach an amicable decision at AGM," said one of the BCCI executives.

The new terms will formalize an unofficial agreement between the two parties since the first edition of IPL in 2008. BCCI’s working committee felt that the 10% share of IPL revenue, Rs43 crore in that first year, was too high and a fixed payment Rs33 crore per year was agreed upon.

“The new deal was just an MoU (memorandum of understanding) and no official contract was signed over it," said one of the board officials.

Some BCCI officials objected to the fee that had been agreed upon and wanted it lowered further. When IMG refused the demand, the board decided to terminate the contract at a working committee meeting on 13 August, with BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan conveying the message in writing to the agency.

IMG told the board that it had “followed the norms of the contract, and even the revised deal", said one of the BCCI officials. “Since both seasons of IPL went off without a glitch, the termination was not acceptable and they would resort to legal action if the issue was not resolved in their favour," the official said, citing IMG’s response.

Andrew Wildblood, senior vice-president and senior corporate director at IMG India, declined to comment on the dispute. Calls made to Modi’s office seeking comment weren’t returned.

The second IPL series was held in South Africa earlier this year. IPL team owners include industrialist Mukesh Ambani and movie star Shah Rukh Khan.