The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has severed an agreement with World Sport Group (WSG) Mauritius granting it Indian Premier League (IPL) television broadcast rights. The board has said a “facilitation fee” document in this agreement is “vitiated by fraud”.
In effect, the board has canceled all rights handed to WSG Mauritius by suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi. Modi’s deal with the company will form the basis of BCCI’s action against him on July 3, when it holds a special general meeting. Modi has been accused, among other things, of financial irregularity as the IPL chief.
The global broadcast rights for IPL were originally bought in 2008 by WSG for ten years for more than 900 million dollars. The TV rights for India were then allotted by WSG to Multi Screen Media (MSM, earlier Sony Entertainment Television).
However, in 2009, the IPL cancelled the MSM contract, citing, among other reasons, poor-quality broadcasts. MSM went to court, but after a tough legal battle, decided on an out-of-court settlement.
The new deal saw MSM paying more than a billion dollars to hold on to the TV rights for the remaining nine years. The agreement also stipulated that Sony MSM would pay WSG a facilitation fee of Rs 425 crore.
BCCI members have said earlier that they had no prior knowledge of this deal and have called the facilitation fee an “improper payment.”
After a meeting of the IPL Governing Council last week, BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan had said that the Rs 425-crore facilitation fee rightfully belonged to the Board. “The governing council-IPL has approved an amended media rights agreement with MSM Satellite (Singapore), in which MSM would agree to pay the balance payable under the facilitation fee agreement to the BCCI,” a Board media release had said.