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IPL-rights bidding process could be delayed due to court order

This decision can put the future of IPL in danger.

The bidding process for IPL broadcast, digital and media rights which was originally scheduled to begin in Mumbai on October 25, is now likely to be delayed after the fresh orders by the Supreme Court on Friday.

The court had ordered the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) to sent all the orders and tenders to be directed through the Lodha committee. BCCI has been trying to contact the Lodha committee, but it is believed that they have not got a reply from the committee yet. The Lodha committee is still to decide when they will conduct their next meeting on the court’s order. If the BCCI goes ahead with the bidding process without the committee’s approval, it will be in danger of being in contempt of court.

After the court gave its orders, BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke sent an email to the Lodha Committee asking for direction on whether the IPL bids could be held next Tuesday. It is understood that BCCI also sent the committee all necessary details, including the paperwork submitted by the 18 bidders that had bought the invitation to tender (ITT) document.

A BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo,”We have sought advice from the Lodha Committee.". The official also mentioned that even if the committee had given it a go ahead, it would not have been able to conduct the bidding process due to ‘logistic issues’.

“If they say go head, we will do that on October 25. But it would be a very big challenge for the board. So we will just change the date by one or two days," the official said.

In its order, the court had also asked the committee to appoint an independent auditor to oversee all existing and future finance-related issues, along with the tenders and contracts of the board. The court also asked the committee to fix a "threshold value" for contracts. Whenever that limit was exceeded, the BCCI would need to seek approval from the Lodha panel before moving ahead in the particular matter.

Shirke had written a mail to the court asking whether the auditor will be present in the bidding process. "We don't know what the threshold value is. We don't know who the auditor is. So we have submitted all the papers [relating to the tender] to them. And we await the directive from the committee now," the official said.

BCCI had announced in September that it would invite bidders to participate in an open-tender process to secure IPL rights for the next cycle. beginning 2018. With the IPL having soared monumental levels in its nine seasons, the BCCI had split the rights into three categories - broadcast, digital and media - and corporate giants like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Reliance Jio, all non-television players, were among those who bought the ITT.

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