Indian Premier League

IPL 2017 in tangible jeopardy

The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) is walking on very thin ice as far as the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2017) is concerned. With the T20 tournament scheduled to begin on April 8, there are only four months left before the first ball is scheduled to be bowled and the BCCI says “not a single contract has been signed yet”.

From hosting of player auctions to planning logistics, hiring of creative and management agencies, advertising the league and signing up with a host of vendors for the two-month long cricketing extravaganza have been pending for more than two months already .

After the Supreme Court hearing got adjourned from December 5 to 9 on Monday ,a top BCCI official admitted that the Board was staring into an abyss with the IPL.

“The International Management Group (IMG) begins work on IPL every year at the beginning of October. They’re not on board yet. The opening ceremony is usually planned five to six months in advance.There’s no word on it. It’s absolute chaos,” a senior BCCI functionary told TOI on Monday .

Another source revealed that communication with the Justice RM Lodha Committee in this regard elicited a one-line response: “Wait till December 5”.

The BCCI, however, has a flurry of questions which they’ve been fretting over. “The (Lodha) Committee was asked to appoint an auditor and set threshold limit for contracts.The Board even requested the Committee for a meeting. But nothing has moved. I hope the Committee doesn’t expect us to call some DJ Sunny from Bhatinda (pun intended) to perform at the opening ceremony .

“And if the BCCI needs to match its own standards set in the past for IPL, it needs time to work on things. Given the present uncertainty , the tournament is in real danger,” the official added.

Broadcasters, sponsors and vendors usually begin work on sports properties at least 270 days before the start of the event. That’s a calculated window during which contracts are signed and measures are finalised.

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke had written to the Lodha Committee on October 28 highlighting the image of the Board as a professional organisation had taken a serious beating because of the prevailing uncertainty and devalued revenues.

The BCCI now says that continuation of such an uncertain period will further strain BCCI’s revenue streams. Shirke had written to the Committee highlighting a long list of vendors that had to be appointed going into the IPL 2017 season. “It’s been a month and a week now and nothing has moved,” the official pointed out.

The Lodha Committee, meanwhile, has shut all lines of communication as it waits for the Supreme Court to hear the matter on December 9.