The last-ditch effort of the Kochi franchise to save the team seems to have worked as the IPL governing council gave it another lifeline by postponing a decision on the troubled side.
This came after the franchise submitted fresh papers on Saturday detailing a last-minute shareholding deal by the stakeholders.
The third, and final, lifeline will end on December 5, following which the governing council will take a call in Mumbai on whether Kochi’s shareholding pattern measures up to the expectations of the BCCI.
What seems to have revived Kochi’s hopes were documents submitted by the owners on the last day of the one-month deadline given by the GC, suggesting that their dispute over shareholding had been resolved.
However, BCCI is in no mood to take a hurried decision and said that it would like to go through the documents closely before deciding whether or not to retain Kochi in the eight-team competition.
“They (Kochi) submitted a new ownership pattern yesterday (Saturday), but we did not have time to examine it. We would like to seek the opinion of our legal experts before we take any decision,” BCCI president Shashank Manohar told reporters after the GC meeting at a Nagpur hotel on Sunday. “We need to examine the documents in detail,” he added.
As part of their new agreement, Kochi franchise promoters Rendezvous Sports have agreed to dilute their ownership stake from 26% to 10%. The Rendezvous stake, which is in the form of free sweat equity, was the bone of contention among investors. The decision allows other investors to have a bigger share in running of the company, which will be now be called Kochi IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd.
Manohar did not speculate on whether Kochi would finally be retained in IPL, saying the media will get all the answers on December 5. At the last GC meeting, also held in Nagpur, the beleaguered franchise had been given one month to resolve its differences over shareholding.
“They have also given various affidavits which need to be looked into,” said Manohar. Some members of the Kochi franchise were at the same hotel where the GC met but Manohar denied having had any interaction with them.