x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Modi has IPL owners' backing

Two franchise owners have backed Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman, to continue in his role after media reports claimed he might be asked to resign following alleged financial irregularities.

Two franchise owners have backed Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman, to continue in his role after media reports claimed he might be asked to resign following alleged financial irregularities. Modi is facing growing pressure over his management of the IPL since he revealed on his Twitter account last week that the girlfriend of Shashi Tharoor, a junior government minister, had invested in a consortium awarded the new IPL franchise in Kochi.

The revelation caused a political storm in India and prompted a government investigation that forced Tharoor to resign. But Vijay Mallya, the owner of Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Subroto Roy, chief of another new entrant, Pune, insisted Modi should stay due to his work in broadening the appeal of the IPL. Mallya said: "Unfortunately, this entire issue has snowballed into an unnecessary storm. As far as I'm concerned, I'm full of appreciation for what Lalit Modi has delivered through the IPL. If he has issues with the Government of India, that's his private matter and he needs to deal with it."

Roy said: "One thing is important, Modi has done tremendous work for IPL and one should note that." Meanwhile, Pranab Mukherjee, the Indian finance minister, has declared that a "thorough probe" will be launched into the finances of the IPL amid mounting pressure from the opposition parties. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is set to meet on Friday in Mumbai with IPL franchise owners, where Modi's position is likely to come under scrutiny. Modi has reportedly been excluded from the meeting and could be asked to step down.

* PA