Another IPL franchise bites the dust

Image courtesy of: The New Indian Express

The Pune Warriors are the latest franchise to fall victim to the IPL

First it was the Kochi Kerela Tuskers, then the Deccan Chargers and now the Pune Warriors have officially been wiped off the Indian Premier League (IPL) map and franchise list after Sahara India, their main sponsor, withdrew their funding.

According to reports, Sahara withdrew their support and funding for the Warriors after having a heated dispute with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over the annual fee they had to pay for the franchise.

Sahara’s withdrawal comes three years after they bought the Warriors for $370 million, the highest bid and price ever paid for an IPL franchise in the history of the tournament.

IPL commissioner Rajiv Shukla confirmed Sahara’s withdrawal and that the Warriors franchise had been terminated.

“Yes, it (Pune Warriors) has pulled out,” Shukla said. “As per the rules and procedure of the BCCI if a franchise fails to pay the fee then we cash the franchise’s bank guarantee. We are extremely sad by their decision to pull out. This should not have happened.”

The Warriors finished second-last on the points table this season after having won a disappointing four matches out of the 16 they played.

However, Sahara intends to continue sponsoring the Indian national team until their contract expires in December 2013.

“We share an excellent relationship with the players and will not want such dedicated and good human beings who serve the country so committed to get harmed financially due to unsporting attitude of BCCI,” Sahara said through a statement. “So we have given time to BCCI to get the new sponsorship in place from January 2014.”

Sahara stated that they were “disgusted” by the BCCI’s attitude towards the franchise fees and added that they would never rejoin the league or sponsor another franchise again.

“In 2010, Sahara had bid Rs 1700 crore for the IPL franchise on the basis of revenue calculation on 94 matches. But we got 64 matches only,” the statement said. “We and the Kochi team [also bought at the 2010 auction] immediately protested and requested the BCCI to reduce the bid price proportionately for viable IPL proposition. Nothing was heard. We waited with confidence that such a sports body should have sportsmanship spirit.”

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