Kolkata: Ahmedabad, capital of Gujarat which boasts of the ‘largest’ cricket stadium of the world, is all set to get one of the two IPL teams which will be added to the glitzy league to make it a 10-team affair from next year. The governing council of IPL on Tuesday invited bids to acquire the rights to ‘own and operate’ the two new teams through a tender process.
The Indian cricket board, in its press release, clarified that the bid is to ‘‘own and operate 1 (one) of the 2 (two) new teams proposed,’’ implying one interested party can only bid for one team. The base prices of each of the franchises, according to highly placed sources in the governing council, has been kept at an astronomical Rs 20 billion approximately (Dh one billion) - which is almost a 10-fold increase on the base prices kept for the eight teams for the 2008 inaugural edition.
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‘‘The detailed terms and conditions governing the submission and evaluation of bids including eligibility requirements, process for submissions of bids, proposed new teams’ rights, and obligations, etc. are contained in the ‘Invitation to Tender’ (“ITT”) which will be made available on receipt of payment of non-refundable fee of INR 10,00,000 (Rs one million) plus any applicable Goods and Services Tax. The ITT will be available for purchase till October 5, 2021,’’ the IPL statement said.
The BCCI had, for long, wanted to make the IPL a 10-team affair and could have possibly gone ahead with it this season itself but the Covid-19 pandemic ensured that they deferred their decision till 2022. Incidentally, a previous attempt to increase the teams had fallen apart after just two seasons when Sahara Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers were the two additional teams before the IPL was scaled down to eight teams again for nine years now.
Meanwhile, the potential cities to have new franchises have been a subject of speculation every now and then, with the Adani Group’s interest in acquiring Ahmedabad as the base have been very much in circulation. Asked about the prospect of the capital city of Gujarat becoming home to a new IPL team, Jay Shah, secretary of BCCI and former president of Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) told Gulf News in a recent interview: ‘‘The passion for cricket among the people of Ahmedabad and Gujarat is huge. Shri Narendra Modi Stadium can accommodate 1.32 lakh people and it is the largest cricket stadium in the world with world class facilities.
The infra-structure is there (in Ahmedabad) for the bidders to make an informed decision. The BCCI and IPL have a transparent tender process for selecting the two new teams. The fairness and transparency of the process will not be comprised at any cost
‘‘The infra-structure is there for the bidders to make an informed decision. The BCCI and IPL have a transparent tender process for selecting the two new teams. The fairness and transparency of the process will not be comprised at any cost,’’ he added.
The capital of Uttar Pradesh – Lucknow – is also in pole position to become the base for the second team. The city has a revamped infra-structure in the form of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Stadium (also called the Ekana Cricket Stadium).
Cities like Nagpur, Raipur, Pune, Visakhapatnam are Ranchi are also in fray to become part of IPL - but Ahmedabad and Lucknow appear to have a headstart over other. Meanwhile, companies with only Rs 30 billion turnover can only qualify as bidding franchises.