A bigger, yet trimmer Indian Premier League (IPL) will be unleashed on the fans in 2011. The number of matches has been increased from 60 to 74. However, the BCCI stopped well short of taking it up to 94, the number envisaged by the Board earlier, because of a hectic international calendar and fears about injury to players.
With two new teams joining the League from 2011, the 10 teams will be divided into two groups of five each by draw of lots. There will be 70 league matches plus four play-off games in a complicated system with each team playing the same number of matches (14 with 7 home and 7 away matches).
The new format will force BCCI to lose around Rs 1,500 crore from central sponsorship rights in the next seven years.
According to sources, it was also decided that the IPL won’t be played in hot summer months post 2011, next year being an exception because the sub-continent will host the World Cup. 2012 onwards, IPL will get over by mid-April. In 2011, the League is tentatively scheduled to begin five days after the World Cup final.
At the governing council (GC) meeting held in Mumbai on Sunday, the members also raised the cap on players’ salary to $9 million dollars, up from the previous $7.75 million.
The IPL also decided to allow the original eight teams to retain a maximum of four players, including a maximum of three Indians and a maximum of two foreigners. The salary cap of $9 million has been fixed for a squad of 30 to be spent by each franchise at the players’ auction in the second week of November.
Player contracts will be for a period of two years plus a one-year right of extension by franchise. Interestingly, if a franchise wishes to retain the ‘number one’ player of his team, it will have to shell out $1.8 million, $1.3m for the second best player, 0.9m and 0.5m for his third and fourth players, decided by the owner. Under these circumstances, a purse of $4.5 million will be left for that team to buy the rest of the 26 players.
Sources also pointed out that if a team decides to retain its ‘number one’ player, it does not necessarily mean that the player gets a payment of $1.8 million. He may get a lower amount subject to negotiation, but a sum of $1.8 million will get deducted from the purse of $9 million.
The IPL has also attached a condition to player retention saying the franchise and player must mutually agree before retention. Surprisingly, the two new teams, Pune and Kochi, are allowed to sign up to four players from the list of players who were not a part of the squad of any of the teams in the past three IPL editions. However, the catch is that if such a player is signed, $1.8 million will be deducted immediately from the team’s purse.
For uncapped players, IPL has fixed a salary bracket of Rs 10, 20 and Rs 30 lakh as per the number of Ranji matches played. The GC also decided the players’ contract would be managed by the Board and would also be signed by the team owners.