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IPL's media rights could be jeopardized

Anurag Thakur, Ajay Shikre, and Amitabh Chaudhary have been rendered ineligible to ink a new media rights deal for the IPL.

Anurag Thakur may be required to vacate his post of the BCCI’s president under the Lodha Panel’s recommendations 

With the implementation of the Lodha Panel’s recommendations, one of which mandate a nine-year term in office for all the office bearers of the BCCI – with three three-year terms and cooling off periods in between – the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) media rights deal could be in some jeopardy. The case in point is that three of the BCCI’s office-bearers –  the President, Anurag Thakur, the Secretary, Ajay Shikre and the Treasurer, Amitabh Chaudhary –  have been rendered ineligible to negotiate the new media rights deal for the IPL, following the implementation of the recommendation stating the aforementioned clause, as all three of them are set to face cooling-off periods after the Supreme Court of India called for the immediate implementation of the Panel’s directives.

The Panel’s report, which was given the green signal by the SC on July 18, states that the office bearers that come under the cooling off period are not eligible to negotiate  big contracts or deals. The current IPL deal, with Sony Max, that has been valued at $1.6 billion, expires on August 30. Hence, the apex board has to put to ink a new contract before the set date, which is expected to be of an ‘astronomical value.’ As reported by the Times of India (TOI), the new deal is expected to be somewhere around $3 billion and $4 billion. Both parties are understood to have been involved in a negotiation process, and if they’re indeed able to chalk out a deal before the deadline, the bidding for IPL’s media rights deal may not happen.

“This deal could be null and void if the current office-bearers get into it. Technically, the current office-bearers can't negotiate any big deal. The Lodha committee is supposed to implement the reforms in the next four to six months. But people who are not eligible stand disqualified immediately,” the TOI was told by a source close to the Lodha Panel.

While the BCCI top brass, in Thakur, Chaudhary and Shikre were unavailable for comments, another source close to the BCCI said, “We have to follow the law. If the current bunch of officials are not allowed to be a part of BCCI, we don't have much option.”

Perhaps the biggest consequence of the implementation of the recommendations would be the exit of the board’s President, Thakur, who may be cooled-off as per the report, especially after the resignation of the previous President Shashank Manohar, who had quit his job in the anticipation of the forthcoming reforms, and now holds the post of the International Cricket Council’s independent chairman. Thakur may also be required to vacate his post of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president, under the same rule. 

However, Thakur is of a different opinion, stating that the cooling-off period rule doesn’t apply to him yet, as he was appointed the joint-secretary in 2011 and was appointed the secretary of the board last year. Hence, he believes that his three-year term had begun only from July 2015.

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