Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise officials woke up to a ‘surprise development’ on Friday (June 24) morning when they learnt from the media about the BCCI’s plans to host ‘IPL Overseas’ in September this year and make it an annual affair.
On May 23, Times of India had reported about the cricket board’s plans to host a ‘mini-IPL’ in September, following which a few IPL franchise representatives had expressed surprise and said they’d not been informed of any such development yet.
On Friday, they had a similar reaction except that this time, Anurag Thakur, the BCCI president, was the one revealing the plans.
September is a rare month in the international cricket calendar when almost all cricket nations find space for a breather. It is for that reason that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is also in talks with a giant broadcaster to fit in a once-in-two-years World Twenty20 during the same time.
“Either way you look at it, it’s going to build up into another battle for the September slot between the BCCI and the ICC,” said a cricket industry executive tracking the developments.
The space for an overseas IPL was first created last year when BCCI, in agreement with Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa, scrapped the Champions League T20 which was bleeding money for broadcasters Star India. Shashank Manohar, the former BCCI president, had also asked a couple of state cricket associations to not plan their own T20 leagues (on the lines of the Karnataka Premier League) and assured that BCCI would float the ‘mini-IPL’ soon.
After that, given the onus on the Lodha Committee report and the ongoing Supreme Court mandate in the backdrop of the spot-fixing scandal, all plans were swept aside.
Now that the BCCI is once again busy talking about ‘IPL overseas’, the question is when will they find the time to speak to the franchises about it. “We have no clue. All we know is what the media’s reported,” said two franchise officials while one franchise owner’s reaction was a simple “what’s that?” when asked for a reaction on the ‘IPL overseas’.
Franchise representatives say that if the BCCI is indeed serious about conducting such a tournament from this year, they have to let them know the details in terms of finances, operations, player availability player fees and more. The general feeling among most stakeholders, including the franchises, is that the BCCI is ignoring them while it is busy trying to appease potential broadcasters.
“Champions League earned franchises half-a-million dollars as appearance fees every year and in turn, franchises had to pay their players 10% of the IPL fee per season if the team qualified. The entire operations were also managed by the BCCI, logistics included. Is it going to work on the same lines or any different, we have no clue,” the franchise official said.