The Bombay High Court on Monday suggested to the Cricket Board and Deccan Chronicles Holdings Ltd to settle their dispute over termination of IPL franchise by referring the matter to a mutually acceptable arbitrator.
However, counsel for both the sides said they would seek instructions from their respective clients over the names of arbitrator or arbitrators which would then be placed before the Court for approval.
Accordingly, Justice SJ Kathawala deferred till tomorrow, the hearing of petition filed by Deccan Chronicles challenging BCCI's decision at its emergency IPL Governing Council meeting in Chennai last week to terminate the contract of the cash-strapped Deccan Chargers.
The Court had earlier granted status quo regarding the termination of the Deccan Chargers' IPL franchise by BCCI.
The Cricket Board had filed an affidavit listing a series of breaches committed by Deccan Chargers. It argued that the players had not been paid and said that around 20 banks are creditors of Deccan Chargers with dues to the tune of Rs4000 crore pending against the group.
Counsel for Deccan Chronicles Holdings Ltd, Zal Andhyarajunam, admitted that the Company had to pay substantial debts but assured that it would meet its obligations. Even the banks have assured. "All that we need is an elbow or breathing space to face our problems", he said.
"We are under financial constraints but are making bonafide attempts to resolve them. We (Deccan Chargers) have been running the franchise since last 3-4 years and we will continue to do so.
BCCI, he said, had not given them a chance to make a representation and terminated their franchise abruptly". This, he argued, was very unfair despite assurance by banks, mainly ICICI, that the company would meet its obligations.
As of now, there is no debt which is payable or due immediately. The instalments are due in October, November and December, Deccan Chronicles Counsel told the Court.
BCCI, on the other hand, argued that Deccan Chronicles had to pay the players, the Cricket Board and had to run the franchise. In order to run a franchise, one needs at least Rs150 crores, BCCI Counsel Rafiq Dada submitted.
BCCI further said that the contract of players will come up for renewal on October 31. How will Deccan Chargers renew their contract or even hire new players unless the existing ones are paid ?, the Cricket Board's Counsel asked.
"If for every bit of money, they (Deccan Chargers) are going to ask the banks then how can they run the franchise?, he asked.
The matter would be heard tomorrow when the parties would inform the court their choice of arbitrators mutually acceptable to both sides. In case, they fail to arrive at a consensus, the Court may appoint an arbitrator to resolve the issue.