The Board of Control for Cricket in India has denied that the Sahara-backed Pune Warriors India franchise has pulled out of the Indian Premier League.
Pune finished the 2013 season in eighth place and the BCCI has found itself at the centre of a spot-fixing storm after three Rajasthan Royals players were arrested last week.
However, a statement from the board claimed that they had no knowledge of Pune, who only joined the league in 2011, withdrawing.
The statement read: "The BCCI can however confirm that, in order to satisfy the balance of the 2013 franchise fee of 133.87 crore (including taxes), which was overdue and owing to BCCI since 3 April 2013, it has encashed part of the bank guarantee put in place by Sahara Adventure Sports Limited.
"The IPL Governing Council met with representatives of the franchisee on 21 February 2013 and received assurances that the franchisee would settle all obligations as they fell due. Once the 3 April 2013 due date had passed, the Governing Council had two letters sent to Sahara Adventure Sports Limited – one on 12 April 2013 and the second on 24 April 2013 – requesting settlement of the overdue amount. No payment was made and no response was received to the second letter and so, in order to protect its interests, the BCCI was forced to encash the guarantee.
"While it is true that the arbitration has not progressed, the BCCI cannot be held responsible since every one of the eminent retired judges suggested by the BCCI was not found acceptable by the franchisee. In order to break this impasse, a letter was sent to Sahara Adventure Sports Limited, proposing that as the claimant to the arbitration, it should approach the court to appoint an arbitrator so that the process could move forward. Again, no response was received to this suggestion.
"The BCCI has at all times acted in accordance with its franchise agreement with Sahara Adventure Sports Limited, and is not able to enter into a private negotiation on the quantum of the franchise fee which was offered by SaharaAdventure Sports Limited in its response to the Invitation to Tender floated by the BCCI in March 2010."
Pune had previously withdrawn from the IPL shortly before the 2012 auction due to a dispute between Sahara and the BCCI which was eventually resolved before the competition got underway.
© Cricket World 2013
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