BCCI offers to settle with Kochi Tuskers at a shockingly low amount

BCCI offers to settle with Kochi Tuskers at a shockingly low amount

This offer came as an effort to bring a stop to a longstanding legal battle between the two parties, that's been on for six years now.

Kochi Tuskers Kerala
Kochi Tuskers Kerala. (Photo by STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

The Board of Cricket Control in Indian (BCCI) has put forth a below-standard settlement offer of INR 440 crore, towards the Kochi Tuskers. The franchise had been a participating team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2011 edition of the tournament. This offer came as an effort to bring a stop to a longstanding legal battle between the two parties, that’s been on for six years now.

Ironically, the miserly move came at a point when Indian Cricket has achieved a steady influx of cash. The offer was made by the BCCI at a meeting held between Kochi’s co-owners and BCCI on the 26th of June (Monday). The financially flush BCCI initially offered Tuskers a below-par sum of INR 440 crore as ‘settlement’ and then raised it to INR 460 crore. No truce was reached as the shaken franchise owners decided to walk away from the ‘for pennies on the dollar’ offer.

Who are the Kochi Tuskers?

The Kochi Tuskers franchise was one of the two new teams (the other being the Pune Warriors India) to take part in IPL 2011. Unfortunately, they could play only one season of the tournament as they were wrongfully terminated by the BCCI, on the grounds of breaching its terms of the agreement.

However, in July 2015, the former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti-led justice panel ruled in favour of the Kochi franchise after an arbitration regarding BCCI’s decision to encash the bank guarantee given by Kochi Tuskers in 2011. Further, the arbitrator asked BCCI to pay Tuskers total damages (special and general) of INR 538 crore, the bank guarantee of INR 153 crore that lies with the BCCI and 18% interest on the entire amount until the date of realization.

Word within the BCCI

Elaborating on the offer, the board’s acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary told the franchise’s co-owners to “give a discount for the love of the game.” This statement definitely didn’t corroborate with the tenfold hike in IPL title rights value that the BCCI bagged for an astounding INR 2199 crore.

However, in an act of graciousness, a senior BCCI official reportedly admitted to the Tuskers during the meeting the board was wrong in terminating the team. “We’re sorry for what has been done to you,” the official said.

BCCI’s dues

The Tuskers had initially bought the franchise in 2010-11 for a total value of INR 1533 crore. After the wrongful termination, the BCCI not only gobbled up Kochi’s bank guarantee of INR 153 crore but also, caused the team’s co-owners a further loss of INR 153 crore (for having played one season) by way of franchise fee and an additional INR 150 crore by way of player costs, operations and logistics.

According to reports by The Times Of India, the arbitration awarded to Kochi directs BCCI  to pay the franchise anywhere between INR 1170 to INR 1470 crore, depending on how the interest is calculated. So, exactly how the governing body reached the meagre amount of INR 460 crore that they offered to the franchise as settlement, is still a mystery.

Kochi Tuskers open to reinstatement

The franchise has also been open to the idea of the team being reinstated from the inception of the legal battle. However, BCCI has categorically ruled that out as a possibility, by means of reasoning that the IPL window is short and a nine-team IPL will only extend the duration of the tournament. However, irony strikes again as the IPL was conducted with nine teams in the past seasons of 2012 and 2013 after Tuskers’ contract was terminated.