Television

ESS moves SC over Indo-Pak cricket telecast rights

NEW DELHI: Even before the Indian cricket board has decided on the Indian-Pakistan home series, telecasters have started flexing their muscles for a tour that has the potential of turning into a gold mine.

ESPN Star Sports has moved the court, again, on the telecast rights issue and pubcaster Doordarshan is lobbying hard to land the rights.

ESS moved an application in the Supreme Court, at present hearing a case on a petition filed by ESS, few days back seeking to restraint the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from awarding telecast rights for the India-Pakistan series to DD or anybody else without considering it.

Confirming to indiantelevision.com the development ESPN India MD RC Venkateish said, "It's a standard application that has been moved to protect our legal rights."

BCCI has said in the recent past --- a fact reiterated by DD officials --- that it would like DD to telecast the cricket matches involving the home series with Pakistan. DD has held parleys also with the cricket board in a bid to corner the rights that is likely to fetch it revenue before the financial year closes on 31 March.

On the other hand, DD would ideally like to have the rights on an exclusive basis, but is not averse to a sharing arrangement if the need arises.

KS Sarma, CEO of Prasar Bharati, which manages DD, said, "I cannot disclose financial details, but we would like to have exclusive rights (to the matches with Pakistan). " Asked if DD is open to sharing the rights with some other broadcaster, Sarma replied in the affirmative.

However, he added that nobody has approached DD for a joint deal as had been done once in the past by ESS. BCCI was unavailable for comments on queries relating to the telecast rights, but a United News of India report from Kolkata states that BCCI has

termed reporting of yesterday's meeting as not entirely correct.

According to the UNI report, BCCI legal advisor Ushanath Banerjee today clarified that the Board could not select any representative to the International Cricket Conference (ICC) in yesterday's adjourned AGM because of an order of the Chennai City civil court.

''The Assistant City Civil Judge of the civil court in Chennai had passed an order on 28 September, 2004 in the case of the Bharathi Cricket Club restraining the Board from selecting any representative to ICC or any other similar conference in the AGM as per Agenda Item No 13. This order is still in existence and the final decision is pending in the high court of Madras.

Therefore, the BCCI could not have selected any representative to ICC in the adjourned AGM,'' Banerjee was quoted as saying. He said a section of the media had reported distorted facts quoting some BCCI officials as well as a lawyer on the adjourned AGM.

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