While handing out the suspensions to Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, Justice Lodha reminded everyone that the committee was doing so on the Indian board’s behalf. In the process, the committee also ended up punishing the BCCI itself. For, Tuesday’s verdict has left the BCCI with a monumental headache of how to salvage the IPL in manner which is credible and acceptable to all stakeholders. The decision sent the BCCI and its legal team into a huddle and they have decided to hold an IPL Governing Council meeting on July 19 to chalk the route ahead. What options the board has? The board has hinted it could float its own teams in the interim. In the light of the judgment, The Indian Express tried to explore a few other what-ifs and determine what future awaits the league.
What if the BCCI decides to have a six team IPL?
In the eight years of its existence, the IPL has faced many crises, minor and major. It has irked a government and seen teams come and go. But never has it faced an existential threat as big as this one. With one proverbial stroke of pen on Tuesday, the Lodha Commission has reduced the physical and operational scale of the league up to 43 percent – depending on what parameters you employ.
If the BCCI decides to have the six existing teams in IPL 9, under the current format, there would only be 34 matches – 43 percent less than than the previous season. Since, there are generally nine matches a week, the IPL could finish inside four weeks as compared to seven weeks in IPL 8. That is again a drop of nearly 42 percent. It’s difficult to quantify a corresponding drop in the revenue, but suffice it to say that it will be significant.
The stakeholders – other teams and broadcasters – are unlikely to agree to take such a hefty cut for what was not their fault. Out of all scenarios then, it looks most nightmarish, and therefore unlikely.
What if the BCCI decides to have the same eight teams?
That can happen with a change in ownership of CSK and RR. Which can happen with consent or unilaterally. The BCCI can terminate the two team’s contract and invite new bidders, as had happened with the Hyderabad franchise, though that may result in a legal battle in case India Cements and Jaipur IPL chose to contest that.
Or all three parties can come to an agreement, in which case the franchise owners of CSK and RR exit voluntarily. If they are allowed to sell their stake to a new owner and make money, that would be a mockery of justice.
What if the BCCI decides to have two new teams?
In case the BCCI doesn’t terminate the CSK and RR franchise, and the owners decide to serve out their punishments, the board can invite bids for two fresh teams. However, according to a few experts, any such hurriedly called auction is unlikely to fetch a good price, given the bleak market scenario. Besides, the question will remain: what of CSK and RR fans. Do they have no stake?