Telecast row: Zee shoots off letter to BCCI

Published: Sunday, February 20, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:With the telecast rights for the money-spinning Indo-Pak series still undecided, Zee Telefilms has shot off a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), urging it to "leave the unpleasantness behind" and find a way to sort out the contentious issue.

Addressed to new BCCI chief Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the letter, written by Zee chairman Subhash Chandra, makes a fervent plea for a "reasonable resolution" to the rights imbroglio which threatens to cast a shadow over the series, set to kick off in a little more than a week's time.

"Now that a new team has taken over, we were wanting to explore the possibility of a reasonable resolution of the issue of the telecast of TV rights," Chandra says in the letter.

The letter also makes a reference to former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya. "We have grave apprehensions as to the conduct of the past president of BCCI which is the subject matter of our petition in court."

The case is currently being heard in the Chennai High Court, which has restrained BCCI from taking any decision on the rights till further notice.

It may be recalled that Zee had emerged as the highest bidder for rights for matches to be played in the country before rivals ESPN-Star Sports (ESS) entangled the issue in legal battle following objections.

The letter also sought to dismiss ESPN's charge that it did not have prior experience of broadcasting cricket matches.

"Zee, a multi-crore broadcaster with a bouquet of 23 channels in its network... and which has spent 12 years in the business of broadcast across the globe cannot be considered a weak contender by any means in cricket," it stated.

The letter also questioned the bidding process adopted by the BCCI.

"Indeed if ultimately the contract has to be given after "negotiations", the bidding process is then compromised. BCCI has great responsibilities of differentiating between those with a mercenary approach towards cricket and those who are interested in the welfare of the game".

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