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Saturday, 4 February 2012

Sahara withdraws Team India sponsorship; pulls out of IPL too

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Sahara withdraws Team India sponsorship; pulls out of IPL too
Sahara withdraws Team India sponsorship; pulls out of IPL too
Clean Media Correspondent 

New Delhi, Feb 04 (CMC): In a surprise development, the Indian cricket team's longtime sponsor Sahara India on Saturday ended financial ties with the BCCI and also pulled out of the IPL by withdrawing from Pune Warriors' ownership just hours before the players' auction.
Sahara, which has been the team sponsor for 11 years, signed a renewed agreement with the BCCI on July 1, 2010 till December 31, 2013.
Sahara was paying Rs 3.34 crore per Test match, one-day international and Twenty20 International under the new terms.
"...after an 11-year journey as sponsors, we can say with surety that cricket has become very rich. Many rich people are there to support cricket with a strong will to do so. So, with absolute peace of mind we can exit from cricket under BCCI and are exiting with a heavy heart," Sahara India said in a statement.
"It was an emotional decision for us to start this sponsorship but our emotions were never appreciated and many genuine situations were not given due consideration at all," the statement read.
Sahara, which entered the cash-rich IPL bandwagon last year along with the now-disbanded Kochi Tuskers Kerala, complained that several requests put forth by it with regards to players and the number of matches were not accepted by the BCCI.
"Our first entry into IPL was thwarted in 2008 when we were disqualified, owing to a small technicality on the whims and fancies of BCCI. Yet our Bid was not opened," the statement said.
"Last year, Sahara entered the IPL on the basis of information in the media and everywhere else that 94 matches will be played among 10 teams. The bid price was accordingly calculated, but only 74 matches were played. We are still pursuing continuously with the BCCI to refund the extra bid money proportionately. It has been denied on the basis of strict rules.”
"In the interest of the tournament, we repeatedly tried our best to pursue the BCCI for open auction of all players so that we achieve level playing field and all teams are equally balanced from the quality players' point of view. Again, as per BCCI's strict rules it was denied and again, we were deprived of natural justice. 12 of the best players were retained by the existing teams then," it added.
"The two new teams then requested for allowing us at least one extra foreign player but that too was denied, quoting rules."
Sahara's marquee player in the IPL is skipper Yuvraj Singh, who is currently recovering from tumour in the lungs. 
His unavailability in the IPL this season prompted Sahara to ask the BCCI that the price of the batsman be added to their overall purse for the players auction but the request was turned down.
"Yuvraj Singh, who is truly like one of our family members, is, quite unfortunately, passing through a bad phase health wise, undergoing treatment for critical illness,
overseas.” 
"Our duty is to take care of him, so Sahara has decided to pay him his full fee this year with condition as a Guardian that his priority should be health care and he should not play till he has fully recovered," the company stated.
"We requested the BCCI on the basis of the fact that we have only one Indian marquee player, that we be allowed to add price of Yuvraj Singh in our auction purse, during the February 4 auction because we had later taken Sourav Ganguly at 0.4 million.”
"Again, we have been denied on the basis of the rule book. Yet again, a case of being denied natural justice. We think this peculiar situation of Shri Yuvraj Singh is silent in the rule book because it probably talks only about players who are temporarily injured."
Sahara is apparently also unhappy with the fact that Royal Challengers Bangalore were allowed to buy replacement player Chris Gayle this season.
"The manner in which Gayle was bought was not liked by many franchises including Sahara," a Sahara official said on condition of anonymity.

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