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India’s new sponsor

Calcutta/ Chennai: Star India Pvt. Ltd. was awarded the team sponsorship rights of the Indian team for the period of beginning January 1, 2014 to March 31, 2017.

The tender document, which was available from November 11, was picked up by seven prospective bidders.

After the bids were opened and evaluated on December 9, two bidders — Star India Pvt Ltd and Sahara India Financial Corporation — were found to be in the fray. However, according to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) media release, Sahara’s bid was found to be ineligible.

One agency report, however, quoted Sahara’s Corporate Communications head Abhijit Sarkar as saying that they were disqualified because of their dispute with the Board regarding the IPL franchise and the entire bidding process was “stage-managed”.

“If there is a dispute why did they not disqualify us from the very beginning? It’s very clear that the entire thing was a stage-managed show,” Sarkar reportedly said.

The report also said that Sahara had bid Rs 2.35 crore per BCCI match and Rs 91 lakh for ICC games. The total amount bid by them stood at Rs 252 crore in contrast to Rs 203 crore bid by Star.

But it has to be noted, that Sahara has been flip-flopping on their stand in the last few months.

The BCCI media release quoted secretary Sanjay Patel as saying: “Star has a deep understanding of the game of cricket, and what it means to the nation. We are pleased to extend our association with them.”

The Indian team would have been without a sponsor after this month as Sahara had pulled the plug on its deal a few months ago owing to a financial dispute with the Board.