Barely a week after The Indian Express reported that payments of certain players who participated in the inaugural edition of the Indian Badminton League (IBL) were pending,the Badminton Association of India has directed the defaulting franchises to pay the outstanding amount immediately.
Pradeep Gandhe,the vice president of the Badminton Association of India said,The IBL was a revolutionary experiment to uplift the economic situation of the players,and the players have to be paid.
Earlier,BAI president,Dr Akhilesh Dasgupta had released a statement asking the commercial partners of the IBL,Sporty Solutionz,to release the payment of the players immediately.
We were shocked when we read media reports about non-payment of dues to players. I have personally asked the event company (Sporty Solutionz) to ensure all payments are cleared immediately and no player should complain, said Dasgupta.
Some of the foreign players,who were attached to different franchises of the IBL have been waiting for 25 percent to 50 percent of their contract amounts. Dasgupta said that the BAI was monitoring the situation closely.
We are monitoring the situation closely till all payments are made to players. Any failure to do so will be dealt with strongly and action will be taken. We will also discuss this issue during the next Governing Council meeting and put a foolproof mechanism in place, he said.
As per the contract that the players signed with the franchises,the payment was split over four blocks of 25 percent each. Each of these blocks was to be released at pre-determined times,with the last 25 percent payable by September 15. However,more than two months later,a number of players are still waiting for their money.
Gandhe,the vice-chairman of the IBL governing council,said,The Governing Council will look at this matter very closely. All the facts will be examined. The Governing Council will decide whether to let the franchises off with a stern warning or pursue with punitive action, he said. The Governing Council according to Gandhe is likely to meet at the end of this month,coinciding with the Senior Nationals in New Delhi.
Gandhe also added that the IBL was seriously considering the acquisition of bank guarantees from franchises.
Having bank guarantees in place is a way forward because we in the BAI need to step in. Players have to be paid, he said.
Gandhe reiterated that clearance of dues was the priority right now. Payments to the players are the priority and they should be cleared immediately. These delays are not appreciated but these are the hiccups of the first season, he said.
Auction for teams
The practice of nominating franchises,which was followed in the inuagural edition,will also be reviewed according to the vice-chairman of the IBL. This time franchises were nominated by the commercial partner (Sporty Solutionz) and not auctioned. Perhaps that is one thing we would want to consider next year. The format allows for four more teams and these teams could be auctioned, he said. Gandhe added that the auction procedure ensured that the money was safe with the federation and made the BAI accountable and if there are any problems,the money could be routed through the federation. The existing six franchises,according to Gandhe,are likely to stay.
Unless someone has defaulted and the Governing Council takes a decision to terminate a contract,the exisiting teams will remain in the league, he said.
The contracts that players signed in the debut season of the IBL were bilateral,between the players and the franchisees. Gandhe has said that from the next season onwards,the BAI would like to be party to all agreements or at least in the know of them.