Just a day after Supreme Court appointed Justice Lodha Committee gave a stinging verdict suspending IPL teams CSK and Rajasthan Royals for two years, cricket authorities on Wednesday decided to scrap the Champions League T20 tournament with immediate effect.
“The Governing Council of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) has confirmed that the CLT20 competition will be discontinued with immediate effect. The Governing Council of the CLT20, comprising representatives of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Cricket Australia (CA) made the decision unanimously,” a media release said.
“As such the 2015 CLT20 scheduled for September and October will not go ahead as planned,” said the release.
While the scrapping of the CLT20 was always on cards due to the poor response it generated, the Lodha Committee report was like a last straw for the CLT20 Governing Council after Chennai Super Kings, who are defending champions as well as one of the competitors after finishing runners-up were suspended for two years.
“The competition was launched in 2009 by the BCCI with CA and CSA. The Governing Council determined that the discontinuation of the league was the most appropriate decision due to the tournament’s limited public following.”
‘A difficult decision’
The BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said, “This has been a difficult decision as the Champions League T20 provided added context to a number of domestic Twenty 20 competitions around the world such as the IPL in India, Big Bash League in Australia and South Africa’s Ram Slam T20.”
“It was a fantastic platform for players from around the world to showcase their talent and the participating teams thoroughly enjoyed the experience over the last six seasons.”
“Unfortunately, off the field, Champions League T20 wasn’t sustaining the interest of the fans as we had hoped. This decision was made, after consultation with all our commercial partners and meeting the contractual obligations of all parties involved.”
“The Governing Council would like to thank everyone involved with the CLT20 and all those who participated in the tournament. Further details associated with winding down the league including settling with the three nations that had invested time and effort in the competition, will be completed very soon.”
‘Difficulty in organising a mini-IPL’
The decision to scrap CLT20 will also effectively mean that the BCCI and other stakeholders will find it difficult to organise a mini-IPL, which was being planned to fill the only vacant slot available in September. In all likelihood, the plans for a replacement tournament would be shelved for now.
On Tuesday, star-studded the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals were suspended for two years from the IPL by a Supreme Court-appointed committee in a clean up of cricket hit by the 2013 betting scam involving their top officials Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra.
Meiyappan, a former Team Principal of India Cements Ltd (ICL)-owned franchise CSK and Kundra, co-owner of Jaipur IPL that runs Rajasthan Royals (RR), were suspended for life from any matches conducted by BCCI.
Seen as a clean-up of the mess following the worst scandal that broke out two years ago in the popular cricket league, the punishments were handed down by a three-member panel headed by former CJI R M Lodha which was asked by the Supreme Court to decide the quantum of punishments after finding them guilty of betting.
Citing the Supreme Court’s observations in its January 22 order, the committee held that the actions of Meiyappan, considered the face of CSK, and Kundra had brought into “disrepute” the game of cricket, BCCI and IPL and they deserved no leniency.
Shocked by the order, the owners of CSK, whose top players include top India players Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, held discussions with their lawyers and have planned to move the apex court against the panel’s decision.
Similarly, the Rahul Dravid-mentored RR, whose players include stand-in India captain Ajinkya Rahane and Stuart Binny, were also said to be planning moves to seek relief.
Since it is a Supreme Court appointed committee, entrusted with the task of giving the quantum of punishment, experts feel the teams may not get the relief they expect. (Courtesy The Hindu)