The Supreme Court
on Wednesday ordered the court appointed committee of administrators
(CoA) to file an affidavit on August 28, clarifying its stand on the ongoing bidding process for media rights of the Indian Premier League
(IPL). The apex court's direction came after counsel representing the committee, headed by retired Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai, informed the bench about its preference for a closed bidding.
The matter pertaining to broadcasting rights for the flagship cricket league is of huge concern for Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). While the cricket board is in favour of issuing the rights through closed bidding process, a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by parliamentarian Subramanian Swamy against it brought the process under scrutiny. The PIL is seeking to introduce e-auction, replacing closed bidding, to bring more transparency into the matter. However, sources say, BCCI
fears of losing prospective revenue once e-auction is introduced.
Given the interest that has been shown by companies since the process began, this time BCCI
is expecting in excess of Rs 16,000 crore for five years - nearly double of Rs 8,200 crore that Sony Pictures had paid for ten years from 2008 to 2017. The tendering process for rights for five IPL
editions — 2018 to 2022 — is currently underway. Over 20 entities, including Star India, Sony Pictures, Facebook, Twitter, Reliance Jio, Discovery Channel and Amazon, have already bought Invitation to Tender.
According to sources, while closed bidding has potential to attract bids that are exponentially higher than the floor rate since no bidder will be aware of competing bids during submission. In case of e-auction, BCCI
would lose this advantage as ongoing bids will be open to all bidders during the process.
CoA's opinion in the matter would be crucial as the committee was appointed by the apex court to oversee BCCI's functioning and to bring transparency into its financial dealings.
In a separate matter on Wednesday, the Supreme Court
has issued show cause notice to the top three members of BCCI, including its acting president C K Khanna and acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary for failing to implement reforms suggested by Lodha Committee. It has also issued a summon for the members to appear before the court on 19 September. The court on Wednesday asked the CoA to prepare a draft constitution for BCCI.
The apex court said while it is open to BCCI's suggestions, the board has not yet taken any steps to implement the reforms. It is also considering the report submitted by CoA asking removal of top three BCCI
acting office bearers - president, secretary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhury. Earlier, the top brass of BCCI
was removed, following widespread allegations of irregularities, and the three members where appointed with approval of CoA to run the board.