The Indian Premier League franchise is given a month to resolve a shareholding dispute or be thrown out of the competition.
Kochi given 30 days to settle claim
The Indian Premier League (IPL) Kochi franchise was yesterday given a month to resolve a shareholding dispute or be thrown out of the competition.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) served a 30-day termination notice that will be enacted unless the team addresses the 25 per cent stake that was given free of charge to the sports management company Rendezvous Sports.
The IPL governing council held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss submissions from Kochi's owners.
"The governing council received replies from two parties, the Rendezvous group and the other co-owners, and they both felt that the dispute still exists," Shashank Manohar, the Indian board president, said.
"In case they don't remedy these disputes within 30 days, the franchise would stand cancelled on the 31st day."
The Kochi franchise was bought by Rendezvous Sports World Limited for 15.3 billion Indian rupees (Dh1.26bn) at an auction in March to add two new teams to the existing field of eight for the competition held in April.
The dispute arose after the various stakeholders in the franchise failed to agree on a 25 per cent free equity share for Rendezvous Sports.
If the dispute is not settled, Kochi could join Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab on the sidelines.
Rajasthan and Punjab were thrown out by the BCCI, which owns the tournament, earlier this month for similar ownership issues.
"The cases are totally different. In the case of the other two teams, there was a transfer of ownership that took place without our permission and thus broke a rule," Manohar added.
"But this is a remedial breach and that is why the Kochi franchise has been given 30 days to sort out the matter."
Satyajit Gaikwad, a spokesman for Rendezvous Sports, expressed hope the dispute would be sorted out soon.
"We are thankful that they have given us enough time to tie up our differences," he told NDTV.
"We had asked for a grace period of 10 days but we got 30, so I am sure we will do it at the earliest."
The BCCI is looking to make a fresh start after Lalit Modi, the IPL founder, was sacked last month following allegations of corruption, indiscipline and money-laundering, all of which he denies.
Modi, the driving force behind the tournament, was also removed as one of the five vice-presidents of the BCCI and as head of its marketing committee.
The Kochi team had been preparing to join the fourth staging of the IPL competition next year after they, and the Sahara Pune Warriors, were added to an expanded 10-team competition.
However, with two teams already expelled and Kochi facing the prospect of closure, fresh bids may be called for so that the full allocation of teams can be met.