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BCCI, Sahara Patch up as negotiations conclude

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday put an end to the impasse between them and the Sahara group by agreeing to some of the latter's demands subject to a few condtions. The good news for Indian cricket fans is that the Sahara group that has been the main sponsors for the Indian team for a decade, will continue to do so following an understanding reached by the two paries. Also the Pune Warriors franchisee in the IPL, owned by the same group, whose future was deemed to be uncertain owing to this dispute, will now take part in the IPL after the BCCI agreed to soften its rigid stand and grant some provisions to the Sahara group.

Part of the agreement includes the reactivation of the auction purse for the Pune Warriors and the extension of the player trading window from 17th to the 29th of February enabling the Warriors to therefore strengthen its squad prior to the start of season 5 of the IPL.

Another heartening outcome for the Sahara group is that the BCCI have agreed to open negotiations regarding the reduction in franchisee fee for the 74 games in the presence of an arbitrator. The Sahara group has also been granted a the wish of one off the playoff games to be played in Pune that was earlier scheduled to be  held in Bengaluru on the discretion of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, one of the finalists in the previous season.

Regarding whether or not to permit 5 foreign players in the Pune Warrior side owing to the unexpected and unfortunate situation of their star player Yuvraj Singh, who is recovering from an malignant tumour, the BCCI has agreed conditionally to this demand only upon the Sahara group obtaining the consent of all the remaining franchises.

These were some among many other decisions taken during the meeting, the salient outcomes of which are mentioned in an officially issued statement given below.

1. To extend the trading window, which was due to close on Friday 17 February, until Wednesday 29 February 2012 to give Pune Warriors India the opportunity to have successful negotiations with other franchises as it looks to strengthen its squad.

2. Re-activation of the Auction Purse of Pune Warriors India so that it can take a number of players, subject to the squad composition regulations.

3. BCCI and Sahara agree to start the arbitration proceedings initiated by Sahara through appointment of an arbitrator to address Sahara’s claim for a reduction in franchise fee for 74 matches.

4. BCCI does not have any issues with Sahara seeking a strategic partner in the Pune Warriors India franchise, subject to terms of the Franchise Agreement.

5. In respect of their request to sign overseas players who were not included in the Auction Register, subject to the relevant player regulations, BCCI agrees to the request subject to the views of all other franchise.

6. Sahara has requested for one of the play off matches scheduled to be played in Bengaluru to be played in Pune. The right to host the Play Off matches is awarded to the finalists from previous edition, in this case Royal Challengers Bangalore. BCCI is in principle agreeable to host one of the Play Off in the new Pune stadium subject to the consent of RCB.

7. Sahara has requested to furnish the Bank Guarantee against the Franchisee fee in two installments; BCCI will consider it at the next available opportunity.

8. Notwithstanding the recent working committee decision rejecting 5 foreign players in the playing XI, in consideration of the exceptional circumstance and the non-availability of Mr. Yuvraj Singh, Sahara has offered to obtain the consent of all the franchises for the submission to the BCCI.

BCCI, in line with its normal practice, will continue to engage with all franchises to find ways to enhance the competitiveness of the league and improve the fan experience.

Sahara confirms that it will continue sponsorship of the Indian team. Sahara may want to exercise its right to assign the sponsorship as per the agreement.