The BCCI's four-member working group, formed to study the Justice Lodha panel's verdict relating to the IPL 2013 corruption scandal, today met for the first time to discuss the way forward for the cash-rich league's next edition and said the sponsors were fully behind the Board.
The Board had given the committee six weeks' time to draw up a roadmap for the IPL after the Justice Lodha committee suspended the owners of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals Gurunath Maiyappan and Raj Kundra while banning the franchises for two years last month.
"We have started meeting all the stakeholders from today. Today the representatives of Yes Bank came and met the members of the working group. Yes Bank is one of our sponsors. Similarly we will meet other sponsors and also speak to them about how to make IPL 9 a success," IPL Governing Council Chairman Rajeev Shukla, who is also heading the working group, said.
After this round in Delhi, the working group will move to Mumbai.
"In Mumbai we plan to meet at least four franchise owners. We have set the ball rolling. We have to discuss all the possibilities about new teams and future of players," he added.
Asked if the sponsors are wary because of the controversies surrounding the T20 tournament, he said "Absolutely not. Sponsors are fully behind us. They are bullish."
On the contentious issue of conflict of interest, Shukla said, "Our president has also issued a statement. All required steps will be taken.
Asked if the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will need to pay franchise fee during the two years that they are suspended, he said, "No, they don't need to pay anything. Neither do they pay anything to us nor do we have to pay anything to them.
The working group comprises Shukla, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry and IPL governing council member and former captain Sourav Ganguly, and will be assisted by Usha Nath Bannerjee, the Board's legal counsel. All of them were present in today's meeting."
Asked about the working group's views on having two new teams for IPL, Shukla said, "We don't have any views right now. Once we talk to all stakeholders we would then put forward our viewpoint."