The Indian Premier League title sponsor Vivo, reportedly, has pulled out of the 2020 season.
After the BCCI decided to retain all its sponsors including Chinese mobile company Vivo for the 13th edition of the League to be held in the United Arab Emirates from September 19 to November 10, there were strong reactions against the move.
When the news broke on Sunday, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah took a dig at the Indian government, that gave the green signal for the tournament to be held in the UAE.
Abdullah pointed out that, while people were boycotting Chinese goods in the wake of incursions in Ladakh by the neighbouring country IPL has been allowed to retain its relationship with Vivo, the mobile company.
"Chinese cellphone makers will continue as title sponsors of the IPL while people are told to boycott Chinese products. It's no wonder China is thumbing it's nose at us when we are so confused about how to handle Chinese.
"BCCI/IPL governing council has decided to retain all sponsors including the big Chinese ones. I feel bad for those idiots who threw their Chinese made TVs off their balconies only to see this happen," Abdullah wrote on the microblogging website.
In another tweet, he said "we always suspected that we really can't manage" without the sponsorship and advertising of Chinese companies.
"The sheer suddenness of the move, the unexpected nature of the move, the unpredictability of the move. They don't know what hit them. Now the Chinese will know.......... what we always suspected that we really can't manage without their sponsorship & advertising," the NC leader said, while referring to the remarks of a news anchor of a private television channel.
Meanwhile, India Today reports that Vivo, which paid Rs 2,199 crore for a five-year contract in 2018, would return as IPL's title sponsor for the 2022 and 2023 editions and the BCCI will issue a tender soon to find a replacement for the current season.
Earlier in the day, an owner of one of the franchises informed the other seven that Vivo might walk away. When those rumours emerged, the Indian cricket board assured all that there is no reason to panic.
Speaking to IANS, sources in the know of developments in the BCCI said that the status remains unchanged and panicking isn't the way forward even if someone is feeling a financial crunch.
"At this stage there's no change in status. We do understand that someone may be feeling a financial crunch at this stage but from the point of view of the BCCI, there's no discretion to amend any contracted amount even if the market situation makes it difficult for someone. This is on account of the Supreme Court judgment.
"There's a binding contract and the same would govern the manner in which the two parties interact. See there are lot of small developments that take place on a daily basis in an organisation such as the BCCI but that doesn't mean there's any need to jump the gun (he smiled). Someone heard some chatter and pressed the panic button somewhat prematurely. Well, these are the kind of things that give you experience," the source said.
"The bottom line is that as of now there is no change. If the situation changes, we will address it."
An official of one of the leading franchises confirmed that the owner had received a call on the same. "Yes, he is known to have good terms with one of the BCCI officials and he did call up the owner to inform that Vivo might be walking away. But I think the decision isn't final. Whatever the status, we believe that a serious matter like this will be formally taken up by the BCCI with all the franchises if the need arises," the official told IANS.
In fact, sources in the know of developments confirmed that in a meeting of the franchises with BCCI officials it was this very person who had raised the issue of compensation for ticket revenue. "He had raised the issue of compensation for ticket revenue. But all the others present stressed that ticket revenue was the least of everyone's concerns and what was important was that the IPL season actually takes place this year," the source said.
With Agency Inputs