With a defiant Sahara Group refusing to furnish the requisite bank guarantee, the BCCI on Saturday decided to terminate Pune Warriors from the IPL after a meeting of its all-powerful working committee.
The decision to terminate Pune, owned by Sahara, would leave the IPL an eight-team affair for the time being. “Given Sahara’s continued position that it would not deliver the bank guarantee, the working committee unanimously determined to terminate the Sahara franchise agreement while taking whatever action was necessary to protect the BCCI position,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.
The Board said Sahara was due to furnish the guarantee of R170.2 crore in March this year, but has failed to do so despite five reminders.
“Over the last six months, the BCCI’s advisers have written to Sahara on five separate occasions (in April, May, June, August and October) requesting that the bank guarantee be put in place, with the final letter being sent on October 8, 2013,” said the statement.
The Pune Warriors have been on a collision course with the BCCI after the Board encashed its bank guarantee for the 2013 season due to non-payment of franchise fee. After that, Sahara announced its pull-out from the IPL, even though it is yet to formally convey this to the BCCI.
Sahara has been demanding completion of the arbitration proceedings on the issue of franchise fee, which, it feels, should be lowered since the BCCI did not deliver on
its promised number of IPL matches for the team.
The arbitration process has not yet started because of the differences between BCCI and Sahara over the judges to be appointed for it. The BCCI said the pending proceedings could not come in the way of termination.
IPL governing council members were also present in today’s working committee meeting where the
Board decided to terminate the contract of Pune Warriors. The BCCI said the termination of Sahara was required to start the preparations for the next IPL season.
Pune, bought by Sahara for $370 million (approx R1,702 crore) in 2010, was the most expensive franchise on the IPL roster and its termination would cause substantial financial loss to the BCCI.