IPL4 is in trouble again. The league's much-publicised players auction which the BCCI had recently scheduled to take place on Jan 8 and 9, might be delayed by a couple of a months owing to the ongoing cases between the BCCI and expelled franchises Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab. The postponement of the auction by such a long period would mean that the event would clash with the World Cup in the subcontinent which begins on Feb 18 and goes on through March.
"I don't think the auction will happen before March," admitted a top IPL official told. The BCCI is nowhere close to resolving its disputes with the franchises and it's likely that whichever part receives a negative judgement will move a higher court in the case. "This is going to be a long drawn-out battle - if the court favours the BCCI, then the other side will go to the Supreme Court and vice-versa. The whole thing is sub-judice. Whatever happens in the High Court, one party will go to the Supreme Court."
On October 10, the board had expelled both Rajasthan and Punjab over their failure to report changes in their shareholding pattern to the IPL's governing council. Subsequently, both franchises approached the Bombay High Court, and then decided in favour of arbitration.
The BCCI selected Justice B N Srikrishna to pose as arbrator in the both its cases. Afterf hearing the Rajasthan case, the judge issued a six-weeks stay on the expulsion of the franchise declaring that the BCCI's argument against it was "too facile to cut ice". But just prior to the sart of Punjab's arbitration case, Justice Srikrishna pulled out on grounds of conflict of interest.
The IPL official also indicated that any judgement from the High Court concerning the two ousted franchises wouldn't come before Dec 15, and if either party were to then approach the Supreme Court in the case, the acse would be further delayed sine the highest court in the country only re-opens after its winter vacation in the first week of Jan.
Even though the IPL governing council is aware of the urgency of the matter, it maintains that no subseequent developments will stop IPL4 from taking place as scheduled. "The IPL will definitely happen, regardless of [the auction clashing with] the World Cup," said the IPL official.