Kochi IPL franchise got a 30-day reprieve from BCCI but sources said it seems unlikely that the franchise will be able to sort out its differences in time.
Interestingly, both warring factions in Kochi had sent separate replies to the board’s showcause notice, prompting BCCI president Shashank Manohar to declare that the consortium has not been able to arrive at a settlement. One official even said: “It is an irretrievable situation.”
The board, however, could not axe Team Kochi like it had done with Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, as it has not committed any irremediable breach. “It is just an internal dispute, a remedial breach, and therefore we have only invoked Clause 12.1 of the agreement (between BCCI and Rendezvous Sports World). We had to give them 30 days to sort the problem out,” said the president.
Late on Tuesday night, the Rendezvous investors climbed down from their adamant stand (allowing only 5% free equity and 5% paid equity to the Gaikwads) and offered 12.5% free equity to them, with the option to buy out the remaining 12.5%. This was seen as a workable solution for all as the Gaikwads have been more than willing to buy out their entire free stake.
Manohar, though, didn’t dwell on this option, leaving speculation open if it would or would not make a material difference to the ownership pattern, the bone of contention within the group. However, the two factions are still not on the same page, with both demanding control over the cricket operations.
The board denied that Kochi was being given a longer rope than the two axed teams. “In case of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, the breach was irremediable. But with Kochi there’s nothing wrong, except that they are fighting over issues that can be resolved,” said Manohar. The board refused to go into the details of Kochi UJV’s shareholding. “That is their internal problem and we’re not going to get into that.”
Other than overall control of the team, another problem is plaguing the Kochi team: the funding process. If the board does allow the Gaikwads to convert their 12.5% free equity into paid equity, some are skeptical about the source of funding.