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Indian Cricket Board Cancels 2 IPL Franchises

By on October 10, 2010

Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab have had their Indian Premier League licenses revoked for alleged breaches of their franchise agreements and new club Kochi has been ordered to finalize its ownership structure within 10 days.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the unanimous decision after an emergency meeting Sunday. The Royals, led by Australian great Shane Warne and winners of the inaugural tournament in 2008, and Kings have been at the center of corruption allegations involving the league’s former commissioner Lalit Modi.

The BCCI suspended Modi earlier this year and set up a committee in July to investigate bribery allegations in the 2008 awarding of the bids for franchises in the lucrative Twenty20 league.

But BCCI president Shashank Manohar said the elimination of the Jaipur-based Royals and Kings XI Punjab, which has Australian paceman Brett Lee and Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara under contract, had nothing to do with Modi.

“The decision to terminate the contract of Punjab and Rajasthan franchises were taken purely based on legal opinion we received and the breaches committed by these franchises,” he told reporters after the board announced its unanimous decision.

Those breaches, he said, involved unsanctioned changes in shareholding patterns, or differences between the names of the bidders and those who eventually entered the agreements.

Modi has denied any wrongdoing in the bidding process, and says his running of the highly successful IPL was completely transparent.

The BCCI issued a notice to Kochi, asking that it resolve internal disputes over the ownership shares within 10 days and incorporate.

Dozens of international cricket stars are contracted to the Indian Premier League. There was no immediate indication if the clubs would be replaced or what would happen to the players contracted to the Royals and Kings. The IPL had been expected to expand from eight to 10 clubs in 2011, its fourth season.

But the next season is already in doubt, with Rajasthan considering a legal challenge to the decision.

Raj Kundra, one of the co-owners of the Rajasthan club, told Press Trust of India: “I don’t see IPL 4 happening if the BCCI treats other teams like this.”

“The termination of the contract by BCCI is shocking. We are seriously thinking of a legal action. We need to see a copy of the termination notice and study it,” Kundra said.

In a stream of posts on Twitter, Modi urged the clubs to take control of the IPL and criticized the president of the BCCI for taking “a path of vengeance” that will damage the game.

“The Game is bigger than the organisation. The Owners should get together and Run the League, ” he tweeted. “IPL should not be destroyed.”

Modi accused the BCCI of having “total disregard for franchisees” and had “lost the ability to administer sensibly.”

“The status of all teams is the same. They were all approved. There is no ambiguity as far as that is concerned. The action it totally illegal,” he tweeted. The BCCI is “hell bent on destroying something that we as Indians are proud of _ The IPL. So as to satisfy there personal Agendas.”

Warne, who woke up to the news in England and was returning to Australia on Sunday, asked “What now for the youngsters”?

Warne also used the microblogging site to criticize the BCCI’s decision.

“The royals gave young unknown Indian players a chance,” he wrote. “3 seasons ago royals won the first ever ipl, underdogs come good what a story, it helped give credibility to the competition !!! Now look.”

“Such sad news for us and our loyal fans, shattering to all.”

Rajasthan and Kings XI Punjab were two of the original eight clubs in the tournament which revitalized cricket globally and sparked a range of other Twenty20 events around the world. The game is popular because it can produce a result in three hours, making it much shorter than the standard 50-over one-day internationals or the five-day test matches.

The bidding for the franchises attracted high-profile business owners and Bollywood celebrities in cricket mad India.

Rajasthan Royals was owned by Emerging Media and acquired for $67 million.

Indian actress Priety Zinta is one of four owners of the Kings XI Punjab. The group paid $76 million for the Mohali-based team.

Source: Yahoo Cricket

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