There had been a lot of doubt about if the seventh edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) would take place this year as the BPL Governing Council was lagging behind in fixing important issues. Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hassan however confirmed yesterday that the country’s lone T20 tournament will take place as scheduled but surprised everyone by saying that the tournament would not take place in its usual form.
The BPL apparently is going to lose its essence as this time it will not be a franchise-based tournament; instead the board is set to arrange the premium T20 competition.
The BCB came to such a curious decision as they failed to resolve conflicts with franchisees, with whom they met over the last few weeks. Hassan said demands from franchisees were unacceptable. He added that they wanted to mark the occasion of the 100th birthday of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 2020. This seventh edition will now be named after the Father of the Nation.
The most pertinent question in light of the announcement was: what were the demands from the franchises that forced the board to change the very character of the popular tournament?
A majority of franchises urged that a percentage of revenue generated by the BPL be shared among the franchises. They also emphasised on permanent and consistent rules and regulations. The BCB boss only responded to the revenue sharing issue.
“We were set to strike a new deal with the franchisees and we talked to them and saw their reaction in the media. They have quite a few demands which are totally in conflict with our main module of the tournament. We were not able to accept in any way. They also prefer that the BPL not take place this year since two tournaments in a single year will put a lot of pressure on them. After considering everything we have decided to run the BPL ourselves without taking any franchises,” Hassan said during a press conference in Mirpur yesterday.
“It’s not possible to share revenue. Let them give us Tk 80 crore and we will give them Tk 40 crore. Previously, it was Tk 8 crore and we left 7 crore, keeping one crore. We want that those who come to the BPL think of the development of cricket and players, not just business,” he added.
Several franchise owners said that they were yet to get any official letter from the BCB and are waiting to see how the board wants to runs the show this year.
“We learned about the BCB’s decision. I don’t want to make any comment at the moment as we are yet to receive anything officially. We just heard about it [the decision]. We will inform after discussing,” Rangpur Riders CEO Ishtiaque Sadeque said.
With less than three months to go before the slated December 6 start of the tournament, the biggest question is whether the BCB have delayed all this chopping and changing to an extent that it hurts the quality of the tournament that it treats as the country’s flagship domestic event.