'PBL will make profits after fifth year'

BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma feels the next three editions of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) will be crucial as the lucrative league is likely to make profit only after the fifth year.

"The agreement between the Licensee and BAI is for 10 years and we had initially calculated that the league wouldn't be profitable till fifth year," Sarma told PTI.

"So now our agreement with Star TV will come for renewal on the fifth year and only there after will the league be profitable. This is the third edition and so another two years will be a bit of challenge. So we will probably have to use a slightly defensive approach."

Sarma, who was appointed the interim head following the sudden demise of former president Akhilesh Das Gupta in April, also reiterated that the pending court cases with Sporty Solutionz will have no bearing on the PBL 3, starting on December 23.

"BAI's dispute with Sporty Solutionz is strictly limited to claims and counter claims. I think franchises shouldn't feel disturbed in anyway or demotivated that there is a litigation going on," he said.

Sporty Solutionz had sought a stay on the PBL till the issue is settled and the hearing is scheduled for December 11.

Sarma said: "Last time also they asked for a stay. Normally in an arbitration case, the court decides on the claim and counter claim in terms of money.

"As far as staying the decision is concerned, the courts normally don't interfere," he added.

The eight-team league currently has only six franchise owners, with the Delhi and Mumbai teams being governed by the BAI's governing council for now.

Sarma said: "This time we have increased the number of teams to eight and out of them, franchises have acquired six teams. Delhi and Mumbai are with SportzLive, but I think these two will also be sold.

"Teams of Delhi and Mumbai will play in the league but when they will have a franchise, that is a decision to be taken by SportzLive. We have given that mandate to them. Whether these teams will be sold or not sold, we will not come into that picture," he added.

After the resounding success of the Senior National Championship in Nagpur last month, Sarma said he will be meeting the players during the inauguration of PBL and India Super Series in Delhi to decide the schedule for the next edition of the event.

But there was also some criticism regarding the timing of the Nationals which was held ahead of the China Super Series Premier and Hong Kong Super Series.

A few players such as Ajay Jayaram and Pranaav Jerry Chopra were injured during the tournament, while Kidambi Srikanth had aggravated a leg injury during the Senior Nationals.

"Srikanth had told me at Nagpur before the tournament that he is not playing at China since he was playing back to back tournaments. So that was pre-decided but regarding Pranaav and Ajay's injury I am not aware," he said.

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