Sahara withdraws from “all cricket under BCCI”



    The IPL are round the corner and its again time for cricket and controversy. This time the controversy part started rather early, with Sahara India, a friend to everyone who is someone, pulling out of all cricket under the BCCI. “We are withdrawing from all cricket under BCCI,” Sahara has said in a statement. The company also decided to relinquish its ownership of the Pune Warriors franchise.

    The withdrawal happened before the auction for 2012 IPL were to start. The reason for the pullout are a little hazy, at least to non-cricketing ears. Apparently the immediate cause for the pullout was BCCI’s denial of Sahara’s request that it be allowed to replace Yuvraj Singh with another player in the auction today as Yuvraj is undergoing treatment for tumors in his lungs.

    Sahara demand was that the money it had paid for Yuvraj should be considered as part of its auction money, in effect it should get its money back to buy replacement players. The BCCI turned down the request.

    Sahara also has a long list of historic wrongs done to it. In the first instance, in 2008 its bid was not even opened on technical grounds. When it did make an entry in 2011, it had calculated its bid price on the basis of the number of matches that were to be organised. Media reports said it was 94, but the actual number came to 74. It therefore went back to the BCCI demanding that a part of its bid money should be reimbursed given the less number of matches played. That did not go down well with the BCCI either.

    There is a persistent sense in the Sahara camp that they are being discriminated against. The principle of “natural justice” is not being followed.

    “Yuvraj Singh, who is truly like one of our family members, is, quite unfortunately, passing through a bad phase health wise, undergoing treatment for critical illness, overseas. Our duty is to take care of him, so Sahara has decided to pay him his full fee this year with condition as a Guardian that his priority should be health care and he should not play till he has fully recovered,” the company stated.

    “Again, we have been denied on the basis of the rule book. Yet again, a case of being denied natural justice. We think this peculiar situation of Shri Yuvraj Singh is silent in the rule book because it probably talks only about players who are temporarily injured.”

    Sahara will however continue to pay its sponsorship money to the BCCI for the next 2-4 months, until the BCCI can find a new sponsor.

    “We don’t want to give any problem to the BCCI and we also feel that the players should not suffer. BCCI will definitely take 2-4 months to get a new sponsor and we will continue paying the sponsorship money till then,” it said.

    “All other IPL team players, coaches and other such associates will definitely get their due this year, in case they do not get a chance to play,” the statement said.

    Just to let the BCCI know what it would be missing, Sahara said it would be putting Rs 500 crore in a welfare fund, with plans to put in another Rs 500 in the near future.