Nair slams BCCI officials for ~~hoodwinking public~~

Published: Saturday, December 10, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Taking umbrage at claims by the new ruling regime of the Indian Cricket Board of having introduced new marketing strategies to enhance its revenues, former BCCI secretary S K Nair yesterday said most of these had already been tried out successfully by the deposed regime.

"What they are talking about is nothing new and the earlier regime, in fact, had introduced the marketing initiatives years ago. It is just a cheap publicity stunt of present officials and a way to hoodwink the public," Nair said in a faxed statement to PTI from Thiruvananthapuram.

Nair, the board secretary when Ranbir Singh Mahendra was the president till the latter lost his seat to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar at the last AGM in Kolkata, pointed out that separate team sponsors for Tests, ODIs and ICC events, as has been decided by the new marketing committee, was old hat.

The former board secretary said that the Indian team's earlier sponsors Sahara India, whose deal came to an end last month-end, had entered into a contract with the Board on these counts in December, 2003.

"For the ICC events Sahara had approached the Board and offered to pay an additional amount for the team sponsorship. Since Sahara was already supporting the Board through regular team sponsorship a separate arrangement was entered with them," Nair elaborated.

He said that the previous regime should be credited for finding sponsors for the non-leading arm of the players, apart from selling space on chest and leading arms, adding that Sahara had paid an additional amount to the board to do so.

Nair also recalled that team sponsors Sahara had paid the full money to the BCCI even when players could not wear its logo during the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy event in Sri Lanka due to the conflict of interest with the world governing body's official sponsor South African Airways.

"In fact it was the earlier regime that had introduced the idea of conglomerate sponsorship for Test and ODI series played. This was done to maximize the Board's revenues," he said.

"Earlier Pepsi were the sponsors who paid Rs 85 lakh per match. In September 2003, however, the Board entered into an arrangement with Pepsi, Videocon and TVS and the earnings galloped to Rs 1.15 crore per match," he stated.

Nair also said that the earlier regime had already introduced concepts like official airline (Indian Airlines), who had offered a 42 per cent discount on basic fares for the travel of players, match and team officials, hotel, travel partner etc.

Saying that the new regime's contention that there would be separate tenders for broadband, mobile and telephony rights was also nothing new, the former Board secretary said all these were clubbed earlier under TV rights and a move to issue separate tenders in 2004 was stymied by the spate of litigations.

The idea to sell merchandising rights, talked about by the new regime, had also suffered the same fate because of the number of court cases after having drawn up an arrangement with a London-based firm to register the board's trademark with the approval of the then Working Committee", he added.

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