Sahara had raised the issue regarding significant reduction in the number of matches which was one of the most important basis and criteria for the bid, since 2011. BCCI had made pre-bid representations that 94 matches will be held in every season and then arbitrarily reduced the number of matches from 94 to 74 & then 76. Sahara had placed its bid for the IPL franchise based on the representations of BCCI which were false. The reduction in the number of matches has had a substantial financial impact due to the reduction in the central revenues under the Franchise Agreement.

This is not the only time that BCCI has treated Pune Warriors India with disdain and in an unfair manner.  Right from day one, when the rule of player retention was altered prior to IPL Season 4 (which was the 1st year of PWI in the League) all our requests for seeking a level playing field by having an Open Auction for the players were turned down. The original Franchise document of 2008 had a provision of Open Auction every three years. Hence, when constituting a new team we were deprived of the opportunity to bid for players of the likes of Sachin, Dhoni, Sehwag, Watson, Malinga etc.

The issue raised by BCCI in creating grounds for termination as non submission of Bank Guarantee seems like a desperate measure to cover for their non compliance of promises and obligations. Sahara has paid over Rs 1000 crore as Sponsorship fee for the Indian Team to BCCI since 2001 without any default ever. This is apart from the Franchise Fee for Pune Warriors which Sahara kept on paying since Year 1 despite being given false assurances of justice.

When Mr Subrata Roy Sahara himself wrote to the BCCI President expressing his concerns before the start of the last Season, the BCCI President chose not to respond himself, instead deputing his agency to send a denial for consideration. Mr Rajiv Shukla had met Mr Roy before Season 6 and assured him that all issues will be resolved and requested him to be patient. When the Season was on, the payment of the last installment for the Season was discussed and everytime Sahara was assured that the issue will be resolved and a mutually agreeable solution will be arrived at. However, again in stark contravention of the understanding and betrayal of trust, our Bank Guarantee was invoked. BCCI waited before conducting this act of betrayal because any such move midway through the tournament would have jeopardized their broadcaster commitments.  

Despite assurances given in a meeting between Mr. Subrata Roy Sahara and Mr N. Srinivasan, President – BCCI in February 2012, subsequent to which a joint media statement was issued whereby both parties agreed to start the arbitration proceedings to address Sahara’s claim for a reduction in franchise fee for 74 matches. However, in contravention of the understanding reached between the parties, no steps were taken by BCCI to address our long standing demand of the reduction of the Franchise Fee. In fact, far from starting the arbitration, BCCI has thwarted the process.

This made it evidently clear that BCCI did not want to honour their promises. Therefore due to non fulfillment of reciprocal obligations of BCCI and failure to keep its promises as given in Feb 2012, Sahara was left with no option but to hold back the Bank Guarantee till promises and obligations were fulfilled. But instead of fulfilling its promises and obligations, BCCI went ahead and terminated the Contract, though itself it is in breach.

As a promoter of sports, the insensitiveness towards our genuine concerns was very disheartening and this step though known, is unfortunate.