Guwahati, Feb. 17: The Assam Cricket Association today said it has not given permission for the long-proposed Assam Premier League T20 cricket tournament under its banner, as event management firm Singhco India Sports Management Private Ltd has moved the Board of Sports of Assam to use Nehru Stadium here to host the tournament.
Reacting to Singhco India’s allegation yesterday that the ACA was unnecessarily delaying the proposed tournament, ACA secretary Bikash Baruah today told The Telegraph that there was no question of holding the tournament under its banner as the BCCI was yet to grant permission to any state for such a tournament after similar meets in Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan turned out to be a “mere mockery”.
“Similar tournaments in some of the states turned out to be a mere mockery as the host associations had to incur huge financial loss and the standard of the tournaments was very poor with hardly any crowd turnout or electronic media coverage. The players were also not paid properly. Keeping in view all of this, our governing body has decided not to seek permission from the BCCI for permission to hold such a tournament in Assam,” Baruah said.
“IPL 6 is starting on April 2 and being a member of the BCCI, we are not allowed to organise any similar event till it is over,” he added.
Singhco India chairman Vijay Kumar Singh yesterday said the firm was planning to organise the meet between March 15 to April 30 and accordingly, the Board has been moved for availability of the stadium for 12 days within the specified period. He said if the stadium is not made available, the league would be shifted to Silchar.
BSA officer on special duty S.S. Roy said he was yet to receive the letter from Singhco India, “but I am sure, the stadium is booked continuously for different sports events during the period concerned”.
Dismissing Singhco India’s claim that it was granted permission for the meet in May 2011, Baruah said: “When they came up with the draft agreement to hold the tournament under our banner, it appeared that there was huge financial involvement and under such circumstances, we need to keep the BCCI in the loop. The BCCI had asked us to proceed on the lines of the IPL but we are yet to hear anything from the Board. Therefore, we cannot grant permission for the meet as of now.”
He added that the ACA has not floated any tender to hold the league because no such resolution was adopted in any of its meetings till date. “If we have to organise any such tournament, we will float a tender for bidders to organise the event like the BCCI does in case of the IPL. We cannot engage any firm whimsically to organise such a cash-rich event,” Baruah said.
Admitting that he had a discussion with Singhco India on Thursday, Baruah said: “I have only apprised them the criteria they will have to fulfil as a bidder for the event if we have to host the tournament. I told them that they would have to look into matters like the standard of the tournament, players involved, the financial involvement, the crowd turnout, the telecast aspect, sponsorship etc because the BCCI would not allow any state association to make a mockery of cricket in the name of holding state premier league.”
“I also told them that they would have to deposit Rs 5 crore with the ACA as security for the players involved because if the organisers suffer loss and become bankrupt, the ACA will be accountable to the players. They will have to be paid under any circumstances,” the ACA secretary added.
The ACA is playing it safe after it had incurred a loss of Rs 84 lakh hosting the last ODI between India and New Zealand in 2010 due to poor turnout.
Singhco India has, however, countered that it has organised the sponsors and was not concerned about crowd turnout and telecast as the objective of the tournament would be “for the benefit of the players of Assam” by providing them a platform to earn big money playing competitive cricket.