The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has won the appeal against the Arbitration Award in favor of Deccan Chargers of the Indian Premier League (IPL). BCCI had challenged the July 2020 award, asking it to pay INR. 4800 crore, in the Bombay High Court.
The case relates to BCCI’s decision of terminating the franchise agreement with Deccan Chargers Holding Ltd in September 2012, which was challenged by the Hyderabad team in the Bombay High Court. CK Thakkar, a retired justice was appointed as the sole arbitrator of the case. In July 2020, the arbitrator awarded Rs 4800 crore in favour of the now-defunct IPL team. BCCI expectedly challenged the arbitration award.
On Wednesday (June 16), the single bench of the Bombay High Court, headed by Justice Gautam Patel, set aside the Retd Justice CK Thakkar’s award and stated that the INR. 4814.67 crore compensation for the non-existent Hyderabad team was illegal. BCCI was represented by the Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta among others.
The dispute arose when the BCCI, headed by N Srinivasan, terminated the contract of Deccan Chargers five years into their 10-year franchise agreement and awarded the Hyderabad franchise to Sun TV. Deccan Chargers, one of the eight founding teams of the IPL, challenged the termination. Since Sun TV took over the reins of the franchise, the name of the team has since been changed to Sunrisers Hyderabad. Deccan Chargers had won the IPL in its second season in 2009. Broadly, the verdict says there were three defaults by the franchise, one of which is insolvency.
“At the broadest level, there were three defaults – not paying players and others, creating charges on assets, and the insolvency event (the IFCI winding-up petition).”
The bench believed that while two of the defaults were curable, the third one could immediately trigger a termination as it would have breached the obligations. It is a major relief for the BCCI. Raju Subramaniam, the BCCI counsel, who had represented the board in the arbitration case, said the verdict vindicates the BCCI stand.