Ma­ha­rash­tra Cricket Bod­ies to Move SC to Keep IPL in State

The Economic Times - - Economy & Companies - Rav­iTeja.Sharma @times­group.com

New Delhi: Ma­ha­rash­tra Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion and the Mum­bai Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion have de­cided to move Supreme Court to chal­lenge a Bom­bay High Court or­der to shift out all IPL matches sched­uled to be played in drought-af­fected Ma­ha­rash­tra af­ter April 30.

“The as­so­ci­a­tions are of the view that mov­ing the matches out will mean a loss for the two fran­chises—Mum­bai In­di­ans and Ris­ing Pune Su­per­giants,” said a se­nior BCCI of­fi­cial, ask­ing not to be named. The Bom­bay High Court had last week asked the In­dian cricket board to shift all matches in the on­go­ing IPL sched­uled to be played in Mum­bai, Pune and Nag­pur to other states af­ter this month on the ground that thou­sands of litres of wa­ter is be­ing used ev­ery day to main­tain the pitches even as the state is fac­ing one of its worst droughts.

The de­ci­sion to move the Supreme Court (SC) was taken on Mon­day and the two as­so­ci­a­tions are ex­pected to file an ap­peal in the next two days. “They would be hop­ing to get a stay on the or­der from the Supreme Court be­fore April 30 which would en­able the matches to be played in the state,” said the BCCI of­fi­cial.

The BCCI coun­sel had told the Bom­bay High Court that it will only use treated sewage wa­ter from the Royal Western In­dia Turf Club, which runs the Ma­ha­laxmi Race­course in Mum­bai, to main­tain the pitches at Mum­bai and Pune venues. It had also of­fered to do­nate Rs 5 crore to the chief min­is­ter’s drought re­lief fund and had said that it is will­ing to trans­port as much wa­ter it is us­ing for the grounds to drought-af­fected ar­eas in the state. The court had, how­ever, de­cided to ask the cricket board to shift the matches out of the state.

Ir­re­spec­tive of the out­come of the pe­ti­tion in the apex court, BCCI and Mum­bai and Pune fran­chises will go ahead with prepa­ra­tions at the new home grounds out­side the state cho­sen by the two teams. The IPL gov­ern­ing coun­cil, af­ter its meet­ing last week, had given the op­tion of four cities—Kan­pur, Raipur, Visakha­p­at­nam and Jaipur—to the two teams. While San­jiv Goenka-owned Ris­ing Pune Su­per­giants has cho­sen Visakha­p­at­nam as its new home ground, Mum­bai has picked Jaipur.

The third af­fected team, Kings XI Pun­jab, which had three matches in Nag­pur, had al­ready taken the de­ci­sion to move its matches to Dharamshala.

A BCCI team will visit the sta­dium in Jaipur later this week and since the Ra­jasthan Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion was sus­pended by the BCCI ear­lier, the Ra­jasthan govern­ment’s sports coun­cil will be the host as­so­ci­a­tion for the matches, said the of­fi­cial. The move to a dif­fer­ent city is likely to hit the two teams both mone­tar­ily as well as due to the fact that they will lose out home sup­port. The Mum­bai team is ex­pected to lose the most from its tick­et­ing rev­enues as it has the largest num­ber of cor­po­rate boxes amongst all IPL sta­di­ums.

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia sources, the team gets around Rs 3-4 crore per match from ticket sales, in­clud­ing sell­ing cor­po­rate boxes. Play­ing in Jaipur will not get them those kinds of rev­enues. For Pune, which is a new team and will be in the IPL only for two sea­sons till sus­pended teams Ra­jasthan Roy­als and Chen­nai Su­per Kings re­turn, it will be a body blow as it was bank­ing on the sup­port of the home team and also the com­par­a­tively big­ger sta­dium at Pune where it was in the process of en­hanc­ing its cor­po­rate boxes.

Mov­ing the matches out will mean a loss for the 2 fran­chises — Mum­bai In­di­ans and Ris­ing Pune Su­per­giants

FILE PHOTO

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