BCCI says Sony to telecast, Ten Sports to handle production

MUMBAI / NEW DELHI: It was an up and down sort of day for Indian cricket supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya, fresh off his bruising victory over Maharashtra political heavyweight and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar last evening in elections held to decide who would succeed him as president.

And true to form, the ongoing soap opera that has made India a laughing stock in the cricketing world had some fresh twists on offer. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president-elect Ranbir Singh Mahendra announced today that the board would arrange for the live telecast of the India-Australia series beginning on 6 October through Sony Television Entertainment India.

"The board has decided to produce the live telecast of the series itself and distribution will be done by Sony TV," Mahendra told newsmen in Kolkata.

Mahendra said based on the recommendations of its marketing committee, the board had decided to produce the live telecast itself. He also said live feeds would be produced by Ten Sports network for BCCI, while "telecast, distribution and marketing" would be done by Sony Entertainment Network on a "revenue sharing basis".

The telecast of India-Pakistan Platinum Jubilee match on 13 November and two-test series between India and South Africa in November-December would be done under the same arrangement, Mahendra said.

He said the live telecast would be subject to any order passed by the Supreme Court, where a matter is pending in this regard.

An interesting aside to this fresh twist in the tale is that the Supreme Court willing, the two companies that had logged the lowest bids for the India cricket rights (Sony Entertainment at $ 140 million and Ten Sports at $ 115 million) could between them well be managing telecast for the upcoming series.


Meanwhile, arguments continued today for the fourth day on whether a Zee Telefilms petition challenging cancellation of a tendering process by the BCCI is maintainable or not and whether the cricket board can be termed a 'state'. The only thing that was clear though after four days of hearings, is that the battle is getting more bitter by the day.

The government today came out even more strongly in support of Zee, going so far as to say it is ready to derecognise the BCCI.

However, even as additional solicitor general Mohan Parasharan submitted before the five-judge constitution bench that the government exercised various controls over the country's top sports bodies, including BCCI, the court appeared unconvinced. "Most of your arguments fail when you have no material to show that you have ever granted recognition to BCCI as an apex body in the field of cricket," the Press Trust of India has quoted the Bench as saying.

Parasharan then said that even though BCCI was not a public authority it was performing a public function and hence its actions were subject to judicial review.

Speaking for the BCCI, counsel and senior advocate KK Venugopal went so far as to say: "If India plays England, it is a match played by the official team of BCCI and not the official team of India."

"We do not even fly the national flag nor use any national emblem in the activities of the board," PTI quoted Venugopal as saying. Venugopal said India as a country was not represented at the International Cricket Council (ICC) and that the Board uses its own flag.


It has not been all hunky-dory for Dalmiya however. While he has managed the the installation of his man Mahendra as the next president of the BCCI, one part of the script which was to have seen him take charge tomorrow as the board's patron-in-chief, and importantly its permanent representative to the ICC, remains on hold.

The Madras High Court today refused to interfere with a Chennai court order restraining till 11 October the BCCI's confirming the appointment of Dalmiya as patron-in-chief of the world's richest cricket board. The case will come up for hearing again in the high court tomorrow. Dalmiya was appointed the first ever patron-in-chief of the BCCI at a special meeting on 12 September and the board was to have ratified it today.

The "ratification meeting" has now been postponed to 26 October by which time the board is hoping that this legal irritant is out of the way.

On another "anti-Dalmiya" front, D Agashe of Maharashtra Cricket Association, whose disqualification yesterday led to the defeat of Pawar by a single vote 16-15, has said he is contemplating moving the court. 'I am taking legal opinion in the matter and if I am advised so then I will move court,' Agashe was quoted in the media as saying.

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