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IBL promoters threaten to take BAI to court

There had been problems between the two parties since the 2013 IBL season.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: April 24, 2015 12:09:29 pm
IBL, IBL BAI, BAI IBL, IBL News, IBL Badminton Association of India, BAI IBL, IBL BAI, Badminton News, Badminton The Indian Badminton League (IBL) is yet to hold its second season after its inaugural edition in 2013. (Source: File)

The second season of the Indian Badminton League (IBL), already much delayed, now has a contract dispute threatening its viability as well. On Thursday, Dr Vijay Sinha, Secretary General of the Badminton Association of India and a member of the IBL governing council, said the BAI had terminated its contract with with Sporty Solutionz (P) Ltd (SSPL), the promoters of the IBL. Sporty Solutionz in turn have said that they are considering legal action against BAI.

While there had been problems between the two parties since the 2013 IBL season, things came to a head during the BAI annual meeting held in March this year. BAI had decided to give a 15-day notice to SSPL, asking it to provide guarantee money of Rs 50 crore. Sinha says the BAI had served SSPL’s CEO a restraint notice, withdrawing all rights and privileges in respect of IBL. BAI said in the notice that it had received many complaints of mismanagement from players and the support staff.

The notice also said that SSPL had chosen to ignore BAI’s demand of bank guarantee of Rs 50 crore to avoid lapses in the future. “We can’t take a risk hosting the tournament without a bank guarantee. We had given them time. We have to safeguard the players’ interests,” said Sinha, speaking to The Indian Express.

Rajender Kumar Sharma, director operations of Sporty Solutionz, dismissed BAI’s reasons for terminating the contract. “The bank guarantee was never part of the agreement but in the interest of the league, we agreed to submit a bank guarantee of Rs 15 crore to the BAI, as a sign of good faith.

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In our last communication with BAI on March 10, we had proposed that Rs 6 crore was to be submitted with Rs 9 crore given two days before the player auction for the second season of the IBL. However, over the last two years the BAI has announced the dates for the IBL three times but has cancelled them on each occasion,” said Sharma.

Sharma also challenged BAI’s claim that there had been mismanagement and that players had suffered through lack of payments. “There has been no default regarding payments to players,” he said.

While the two parties have reached an impasse, BAI has decided to carry out the tournament on their own.
“We have decided to host the IBL by ourselves. We are confident we can host it well. Our aim is that the game and players should be benefited. We are confident of conducting it successfully,” said Sinha. He added that the dates for the new edition would be decided soon.

“The BAI president (Dr. Akhilesh Dasgupta) is currently in China. He will return in a few days and we will have meeting to determine when the second edition of the IBL can be held,” added Sinha.

Sporty Solutionz meanwhile say that they will challenge that decision.

“SSPL, commercial rights holders and promoters of IBL as their first reaction will like to maintain that this act of the BAI is unlawful, unwarranted and against the very basics of the Indian Badminton League Agreement, which the BAI and the Maharashtra Badminton Association have signed with the promoters of IBL (SSPL) for a period of 10 years,” said the promoters in a statement today.

“We are confident that our case is strong but ultimately it will be for the courts to decide whether BAI can hold the IBL or not,” Sharma added.

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