Bangla cricket chief quits over television deal

Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dhaka:Bangladesh's cricket board president Ali Asghar said he had resigned after the government failed to sign a record television deal with a Singapore-based company.

Asghar, a lawmaker of the country's outgoing ruling party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), said he resigned to pave the way for the signing of the unprecedented 56.88 million dollar cricket rights deal with Nimbus Sports International.

Asghar said he did not want to be a stumbling block for the deal as the money was needed to develop Bangladeshi cricket which is struggling to make a mark in world cricket despite being granted Test status in 2000.

The main opposition Awami League party had demanded Asghar's resignation and scrutiny of the television deal, saying it had been done in a hasty and non-transparent manner.

Nimbus last week beat its nearest rival, Zee Telefilms, by over 23 million dollars to win the rights to broadcast international cricket matches in Bangladesh until 2012.

Asghar said he resigned because the country's interim government, charged with organising January's national elections, failed to sign the agreement within 24 hours.

"Under the provisions of the agreement, the government was supposed to give its seal of approval within 24 hours. But already four days have passed and the government remained silent," he said on Tuesday.

"I don't know why they are delaying the deal. It was done in a very transparent manner. We hired one of the biggest auditing and consultancy firms and the country's biggest law firm to do the negotiations," he added.

According to the Future Tours Program (FTP) drawn up by the International Cricket Council, Bangladesh are due to play 21-23 Test matches and 59-61 one-dayers over the next six years.

Bangladesh's next assignment is a five-match one-day series against Zimbabwe at home later this month.

Nimbus already holds the rights to broadcast Indian cricket matches up to 2010. It paid 612 million dollars to secure those rights.

The company has also launched a 24-hour cricket channel to broadcast India's international and domestic matches.


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