The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to indefinitely defer the auction of Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights scheduled for Tuesday as it has not received the go-ahead from the Justice Lodha committee.
“In the absence of permission from the (Lodha) committee to go ahead with the process scheduled for tomorrow, the BCCI is unable to do so,” the cricket body said in a statement. The rights are for IPL seasons starting 2018.
BCCI had written to the Lodha committee last weekend, seeking clarity on whether it can go ahead with the opening of the tenders on October 25. The committee has asked the board to agree to comply with its recommendations before doing so.
Calling the developments as “unforeseen” and something over which it has no control, BCCI said once it receives a response from the committee it would bring it to the notice of all stakeholders as it is currently not in a position to take any decision in the matter other than what the committee recommends.
“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 Supreme Court dated October 21,” Gopal Sankaranarayanan, secretary of the Lodha committee, wrote in his reply. He added that the committee requires a letter of compliance from BCCI president Anurag Thakur, pledging to comply with the Supreme Court order.
As per the Supreme Court order, we cannot continue with the scheduled auctions without the Lodha committee’s approval. What they want from us is not something that can be achieved in one day. Even the Supreme Court has given us time till December 3 to accept the recommendations,” a BCCI official told ET.
On October 21, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by chief justice TS Thakur had asked the Lodha committee to appoint a financial auditor to BCCI. The court’s order made it clear that BCCI will have to seek the committee’s approval before opening tenders.
However, executives at three prospective bidders see this as a temporary glitch.
“BCCI has to get its house in order and take a call on how to comply with the recommendations. The media rights are anyway beginning from 2018 season, so there is no urgency,” said one of them. Another person, who works for a sports broadcasting company, said, irrespective of the date: “If the Lodha committee doesn’t change the contract and the terms, the auctions will see aggressive bidding.”