* Sahara ends sponsorship deal with BCCI
* Withdraws IPL team
(Adds BCCI comments)
By Amlan Chakraborty
NEW DELHI, Feb 4 Sahara Group has pulled
out of its sponsorship deal with the Indian cricket board and
the Pune franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the
diversified business conglomerate said on Saturday.
Citing instances where it has been denied "natural justice"
in IPL, Sahara said in a statement: "We really feel such
one-sided emotional relationship cannot be dragged (out) any
further. We are withdrawing from all cricket under BCCI.
"However, we don't want to give any problem to the BCCI and
we also feel that the players should not suffer. BCCI will
definitely take 2-4 months to get a new sponsor and we will
continue paying the sponsorship money until then.
"All other IPL team players, coaches and other such
associates will definitely get their due this year, in case they
do not get a chance to play," added the group which has been the
sponsor the Indian cricket team since 2001.
Sahara's existing sponsorship deal, at $719,000 per match,
was to end on Dec 31, 2013.
"It's unfortunate but we have not received anything in
writing from them and cannot comment on a media statement," BCCI
vice president Rajeev Shukla told reporters.
While he did not elaborate, denying the Sahara-owned Pune
franchise a replacement for their ailing player Yuvraj Singh is
perceived as a major reason behind the fallout.
The development came barely an hour before Saturday's IPL
players auction in Bangalore.
Sahara claimed its first bid to enter IPL in 2008 was foiled
by "a small technicality on the whims and fancies of BCCI".
"Our humble request once again to the BCCI is that through
the right process ... they should pass on our (IPL) team to some
other interested party immediately," the group said.
Instead, the group would reinvest the money and set up 20
sports promotion centres with an international standard sports
Sahara bid $370 million to become owners of the IPL Pune
franchise in 2010 and invested $100 million in Force India for a
42.5 percent stake in the Formula One team last year.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by
Alastair Himmer; To comment on this story: email
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