BCCI cancels tender, ESS withdraws case

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Following up on a comment made yesterday during arguments in the India cricket rights case, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) gave an affidavit in the Bombay High Court saying that it is canceling the tendering process for India cricket telecast rights and may go in for a re-tendering.

Following this fresh twist to the cricket telecast saga, ESPN Star Sports, a joint venture between Walt Disney and News Corp, withdrew its petition against the award of the rights to Zee Telefilms.

In its first reactions to the developments, Zee Telefilms, on being specifically asked by, said BCCI's move would be contested as it has already paid $ 20 million to the cricket board.

"We would contest in court any move by BCCI to go in for a re-tendering of the cricket rights," a spokesperson for Essel group told Essel Group is the parent entity for Zee Telefilms whose shares crashed over 4 per cent on the stock exchanges today on this new development.

BCCI supreme Jagmohan Dalmiya refused to hold forth on the issue saying he had to "see the written directives from the court or be briefed by his lawyers before commenting on the matter."

ESPN India MD RC Venkateish also refused any immediate comment. However, ESPN did issue a prepared statement later in the evening that stated: "Keeping the assertion in front of the honorable High Court in Mumbai made by the BCCI counsel that BCCI would be canceling the incumbent tendering process, ESPN STAR Sports, in the interest of cricket-loving consumers and with a view to arrive at an expeditious solution so that the forthcoming

India-Australia series is not disrupted, has withdrawn the writ filed in the Bombay High Court."

According to an agency report from Mumbai, the cricket board will retain the telecast rights with itself till fresh bids are called. The board will now decide whether to re-tender the rights or to produce the upcoming Australian series on its own, the report adds.

The Australian team's cricket tour of India begins officially on 6 October when the first test match is slated to be flagged off.

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