Investors of the Indian Premier League's Kochi franchise have decided to withdraw from the venture and have told the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of their decision. The shocking development comes just three days shy of the deadline that the BCCI had set the franchise to resolve the dispute over their ownership structure and register as a team for the fourth edition of the IPL to begin in April 2011.
Unless there is another twist in this long-running and dramatic tale, this development could mean the ultimate and irreversable expulsion of the franchise from the IPL. It is believed that a letter explaining the pull-out of investors was sent on Wednesday, Nov 24 to BCCI President Mr Shashank Manohar.
The IPL is now left with a gaping hole that it will have to fill before the commencement of the player auctions in early January. The direction that the governing council of the IPL is most likely to take now is to issue a fresh tender for another team. The decision will be taken on Nov 28, which is the date scheduled for the next council meeting in Mumbai.
The investors in the consortium which comprise Parinee Development, Film Wave, Rosy Blue and Anchor Earth - hold 74 per vent of the equity. The residual 26 % belonged to the Gaikwad family of Rendezvous Sports World.
The two groups had equally divided teh ownership rights alsmost sicne the franchise was launched, a situation which gravely affected its credibility according to the IPL. A month ago, the governing council of the IPL held an emergency meeting following which it asked both faction to give reasons why the franchise should not be terminated altogether.
At trh time, CEO of Rendezvous Sports Mr Satyajit Gaikwad said that one month to the deadlin would be adequate time for the warring faction to resolve their dispute and hit a compromise. But sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case.
As a harbinger of the news, former MP Sashi Tharoor who has been associated with the franchise tweeted, "That dream is over for now. Those who didn't want a Kerala IPL team have finally succeeded. Some of us have paid a high price for trying."