Eden Gardens naming rights move faces hurdles, BCCI president says rules don’t allow

Eden Gardens is home venue of Kolkata Knight Riders, a direct rival of Mumbai Indians, which is owned by Mukesh Ambani.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Updated: January 7, 2016 1:00 pm
BCCI, BCCI cricket, cricket BCCI, BCCI full form, Board of control for cricket in india, shashank manohar, ipl, ipl news, ipl fixing, ipl match fixing, cricket news, cricket BCCI president Shashank Manohar. (Source: Reuters)

The Cricket Association of Bengal’s (CAB) Eden Gardens sponsorship plan has hit the BCCI roadblock as the Board rules don’t allow any stadium to sell its naming rights to a company. According to a CAB source, Shashank Manohar had been made privy to the initiative but the BCCI president flatly denied this as he spoke to The Indian Express.

“No communication has been made with me in this regard. The BCCI rules are clear; no stadium should be named after a company, because for the ICC (or other) events, there could be a conflict between the interest of sponsors. We have to take this into account before allocating matches. The issue would have to be discussed threadbare with the BCCI before we take a decision,” Manohar told this paper.

Asked about the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune, he said: “That’s his name. His name is printed as Subrata Roy Sahara on the passport. A stadium can be named after an individual.”

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The CAB under its new president Sourav Ganguly, has decided to sell the naming rights of the Eden Gardens under the pretext that it will help the state association earn in excess of Rs 5 crore every year. On Wednesday, at the working committee meeting, members unanimously agreed to float tenders with the highest bidder securing the sponsorship rights. The state association can go ahead with its plan, but the serious threat of losing international matches will loom on the horizon.

“We also have to take permission from the Army. Eden Gardens is not the CAB’s property. The state association has a lease agreement with the Army and needs permission from them to sell the naming rights. I don’t think the Army has been approached yet,” a CAB office-bearer told reporters after the meeting.

According to him, the working committee also approved the proposal to give scoreboard sponsorship to Reliance Jio, a brand under the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries. The committee felt the company would be able to strike a deal with the ICC despite the fact that the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom) is an official partner of the world body. But problems might still arise during the IPL, when the franchises have the branding rights of the match venues.

More precisely, Eden Gardens is home venue of Kolkata Knight Riders, a direct rival of Mumbai Indians, which is owned by Mukesh Ambani. Will the KKR accept a potential threat of ambush marketing? The franchises pay Rs 30 lakh per match to host associations in the IPL.

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