The Indian Premier League was born of controversy when it clashed with the now defunct Indian Cricket League and the BCCI banned Indian players who played in that. The BCCI was also involved with clashes with various international boards.
Since then the IPL has been hurtling from one controversy to another, but the most damning thing is that many franchises are involved with some major problem and are tainted…
Chennai Super Kings: CSK and India captain MS Dhoni has been dragged into the match-fixing scandal and that has got to be the biggest hit for the Indian fan. Dhoni is the poster boy of Indian cricket and the man with the Midas touch.
His possible involvement would be downright shocking.
Gurunath Meiyappan, whom father-in-law N Srinivasan called a cricket enthusiast, has now emerged with much deeper links with CSK. He and many others are right now at the centre of a match-fixing scandal.
Earlier Srinivasan himself was at the centre of a conflict of interest controversy, being involved with both the BCCI and India Cements, which owns CSK. There were many charges of favouritism with regards to scheduling, venues and other things.
Srinivasan was forced to step down as BCCI chief but is back with a bang as ICC head.
CSK is the premier team of IPL and all the above allegations have hit IPL the most.
The truth is that had CSK not had so much clout, then it could well have been terminated.
Rajasthan Royals: RR has been under cloud from the beginning to the end. As the cheapest of the initial franchises in 2008, it was alleged that it was due to former head honcho Lalit Modi that it got a good deal. Modi was in the dock as his brother-in-law Suresh Chellaram was one of the owners.
This franchise was terminated in 2010 but moved the courts and came back. It had received an ED notice over foreign exchange violations. If that wasn’t enough, then Sreesanth brought it bang in the middle of a match-fixing controversy.
Another of the owners Raj Kundra currently finds his name in the current investigations.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala: KTK was involved in controversies from the beginning to the end. Initially nobody knew who the owners and in a Tweet war both Modi and Union Minister Shashi Tharoor lost their jobs over this.
In the end KTK defaulted and was terminated.
Pune Warriors India: Subrata Roy’s Sahara had been the official sponsor for team India for ages now. When Sahara took over PWI at an extremely high price no-one could have thought it would face trouble so soon.
A fee dispute led PWI to withdraw in 2012 and then return. They did it again in 2013 and in the end they were terminated.
Deccan Chargers: A fact is that there have been financial problems relating to all the franchisees. Some have managed to make annual operational profits but recovering the initial investment is another story altogether.
DC was no exception and it simply ran out of finances and could not even find a buyer to be terminated in the end.
Kings XI Punjab: KXIP was also expelled from the IPL along with RR over their shareholder patterns and ownership issues. Finally they returned after moving court.
That’s six franchises that either have been terminated, re-instated or can be axed for misdemeanour!
The other franchises have been no role models either.
Vijay Mallya of Royal Challengers Bangalore was involved in a tiff with senior players in the initial seasons. Then even as we heard tales of RCB players not getting their payments last season and Kingfisher employees not getting salaries, Yuvraj Singh was snapped up for a whopping Rs 14 crores. That seems to symbolize all that is wrong with the IPL.
Shahrukh Khan also had a high-profile tiff with Sourav Ganguly and has the ignominy of being banned by Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
And when it comes to players, 100% of the franchises have been involved with some controversy or the other.
The truth is that maybe it’s time to wind-up the IPL and maybe relaunch it as an entity with more transparency and totally independent of the BCCI.
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/