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IBL auction: Who foots their bill?

Confusion remains over post-IBL auction payments to Jwala,Ashwini.

Though the organisers of the Indian Badminton League have promised to pay the ‘icon players’ Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa their original base price of $50,000,despite it being marked down to $25,000 on auction eve,there remains confusion over who will compensate the doubles specialists.

With Jwala going for $31,000 and Ashwini for $25,000,the duo collectively need to be paid an additional amount of $44,000.

Kartikeya Rao,the chief executive of Delhi Smashers – the team that successfully bid for Jwala – said that the IBL would pay a part of the amount,while the rest would be shared by the teams.

“It is understandable that the players are upset as their base price was reduced on the eve of the auction. But the teams and the IBL will ensure that they receive their original base price amount. In the last meeting we had with the IBL,it was decided that the teams would pay a certain amount and the IBL would pay the rest,” Rao said.

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Sahara India,the owners of Awadh Warriors,is not keen to pay for players who have been bought by rivals. Sahara India’s Abhijeet Sarkar said,“We have no intention of contributing money so that Jwala or Ashwini can be guaranteed their full purse. The IBL must pay the difference in full between what these players got at the auction and their original base price.”

Rajeev Kamineni of the PVP group that owns Hyderabad Hotshots said that the franchisee was considering the request from the IBL governing council and Sporty Solutionz,the commercial partner of the league,to contribute towards ensuring that Jwala and Ashwini get their due.

Contradictions

“As Jwala and Ashwini have signed contracts,it is binding on the IBL to pay them the full amount. Initially,the IBL informed us that they would pay the difference between the auction price and the original base price but subsequently they requested teams to also contribute. We are waiting to hear from all teams and the IBL,” Kamineni said.

Ashish Chadha,the CEO of IBL’s commercial partner Sporty Solutionz,says that they were ready to foot the bill. “We will pay the difference between their auction price and the original base price to Jwala and Ashwini,” said Chadha.

With such contradictory statements floating around,it was clear that the IBL stake holders were not on the same page.

Vimal Kumar,a former national champion and coach of the Banga Beats,the Bangalore team,said that the controversy could have been avoided if the women’s doubles event was retained. “Once the women’s doubles event was removed teams were not be willing to spend upwards of $50,000 on an ‘icon’ player who would just form one part of the mixed doubles team,” Kumar said.

Nikhil Kanetkar who will be Ashwini’s coach at Pune Pistols,spoke to the ‘icon’ player on Tuesday. “She was upset because it was a matter of pride and she wasn’t informed about the reduction in her base price till the auction began,” Kanetkar said.

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