IPL-rights bidding on hold until BCCI complies with Lodha recommendations

| Updated: Oct 25, 2016 00:18 IST

Mumbai [India], Oct.24 (ANI): The bidding process to award Indian Premier League (IPL) broadcast, digital and media rights has come under jeopardy after the Lodha Committee asked president Anurag Thakur to submit a letter stating that the board will "unreservedly comply" with the fresh orders given by the Supreme Court on Friday. On Friday, the apex court had ordered the Anurag Thakur-led board to route all tenders and contracts through the Lodha panel. If the BCCI decides to go ahead with the bidding process, which is originally scheduled to begin in Mumbai on October 25, without the Lodha committee's approval then it can face a danger of contempt of court. The top court had also directed the BCCI not to release funds until the state associations file an affidavit implementing the recommendations of Lodha panel. The apex court asked the Lodha panel to appoint an independent auditor to scrutinise BCCI's accounts and also to fix a limit on the financial transactions of the cricket board. Meanwhile, BCCI president Anurag Thakur and board secretary Ajay Shirke were asked to file a compliance report affidavit within two weeks regarding the implementation of the cricket reforms suggested by the apex-court appointed panel. After the apex court pronounced the order, the board had sent an email to the Lodha committee asking for direction on whether the BCCI could conduct IPL bids on Tuesday. The BCCI had also informed the 18 prospective bidders that they are awaiting direction from the committee besides being told that they would be updated of the "future course of action" based on the "advice" received from the panel,ESPNcricinfo reported. "The Committee is in receipt of your email and letter dated 21.10.2016 which refers to the Order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of the same date. Before the Committee proceeds to issue any directions, it would need to satisfy itself that the BCCI administration is willing to comply with the Order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court dated 21.10.2016. As you can understand, this would be necessary in view of the BCCI's stand concerning the earlier order of 18.7.2016. In this regard, the Committee requires a letter of compliance from the President BCCI duly undertaking on behalf of the BCCI to unreservedly comply with the Order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court dated 21.10.2016," the Justice (Retd.) R. M Lodha-led panel said in an email to BCCI. The Supreme Court-appointed panel also sought clarity from the country's cricket board about duration of the media rights period, thus making it amply clear that no independent auditor would be appointed before Tuesday. "In your letter dated 21.10.2016, the first paragraph reads as follows: '1) The BCCI has already declared the process of a global tender for the IPL rights, where the previous ten-year rights contract ended with the end of IPL season May 2016, as it was mandated to do so by the expiring contract," the Lodha panel questioned. "The Committee has 2 specific questions in this regard: a. When did the previous ten-year rights period come to an end? b. When does the next ten-year rights period commence?," it further asked. Earlier in September, the BCCI announced an open tender process for allocating the IPL's global broadcasting rights for the next 10 years. At present, Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI) is holding the rights of the IPL. However, their deal is going to an end after the event's next edition. In 2008, the Singapore-based World Sports Group bagged the IPL television rights for a ten-year period with a USD 918 million bid. It simultaneously signed a deal with Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd. (MSM) that Sony would be the official broadcaster. The contract was recast before IPL 2009, with MSM agreeing to pay USD1.63 billion for nine years. (ANI)