IPL: CVC Capital set to get all clear

CVC Capital Partners, an investment firm, whose links to online betting and gambling companies had been a sticking point after its successful bid for the new Ahmedabad IPL franchise, is set to get the all clear from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). CVC Capital will be given a ‘Letter of Intent’ soon as the three-member legal committee has given the green signal, a BCCI source said.

CVC was the second highest bidder when two new IPL teams were auctioned in October. CVC had won the rights to own the Ahmedabad franchise for Rs 5,625 crores, while Sanjiv Goenka’s RPSG Group bagged the Lucknow franchise for Rs 7,090 crore.

A day after CVC was announced as the successful bidder for the Ahmedabad franchise, reports emerged that they have links with betting companies abroad.

Under the ‘portfolio companies’ list on the CVC Capital Partners’ website is Tipico, a sports betting and online gaming company, and Sisal, a betting gaming and payments, consumer/retail company. The CVC has invested in Formula 1, football and rugby and IPL franchise ownership will be their first entry in the Indian cricket market.

In its recent BCCI annual general body meeting, the BCCI office-bearers had apprised about the CVC development. The members were informed that CVC has two funds, European funds and Asian funds. While its European funds have links with (sports) betting companies, where betting is legal, its Asian fund is clean. CVC had invested from their Asian fund, a BCCI official had said.

The BCCI has also decided to extend the deadline for the two new IPL teams to sign three players before the mega auction set to be held in February.

The earlier deadline for new teams to sign players was December 25.

On the day CVC won the bid for the Ahmedabad team in October, former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, had questioned the BCCI decision on allowing betting companies to buy IPL teams. “I guess betting companies can buy an IPL team. must be a new rule. Apparently, one qualified bidder also owns a big betting company. what next? does BCCI not do their homework? what can Anti-corruption do in such a case? #cricket,” Modi tweeted.

Auction on Feb 7-8

PTI adds: The BCCI is planning to hold the two-day mega Indian Premier League auction on February 7 and 8 in Bengaluru, a senior BCCI official said on Wednesday. It could well be the last mega auction that BCCI might conduct as most of the original IPL franchises want it to be discontinued.

“Unless the COVID-19 situation worsens, we will have the IPL mega auction in India. The two-day event will be held on February 7 and 8 and like other years, we plan to hold it in Bengaluru. Preparations are underway,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

There were reports that auction will be held in the UAE but as of now, BCCI has no such plans.

However with the emergence of Omicron variant of COVID-19 and cases on the rise, the situation will remain fluid but if there are restrictions with regards to overseas travel (unless all owners decide to use charter planes), conducting it in India will be less of a logistical nightmare.

This year’s IPL will be a 10-team affair with Sanjiv Goenka owned Lucknow franchise along with venture capital firm CVC owned Ahmedabad making their debut in the cash rich league.

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