BPL III in December?
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is planning to stage the third edition of trouble-hit Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in December with an eye on next year's Asia Cup Twenty20 and ICC World Twenty20; this time with franchises and, most importantly, a realistic financial structure, apart from the non-payment issues which are yet to be fixed.
BPL's governing body arranged a press conference yesterday at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur only to reiterate their desire to stage the tournament; as a quality T20 domestic competition is the need of the hour.
The 'new-look' BPL will take place in December only if there are no international engagements as there are plans of hosting a four-nation tournament. "December will be a suitable month if it doesn't clash with our international calendar," said governing council chairman Afzalur Rahman Sinha.
The so-called money-spinning tournament was designed akin to the Indian Premier League (IPL) but BCB's media committee chairman Jalal Yunus said: "Our primary target is to establish a viable, sustainable financial structure for the tournament to avoid such situations, a bit like how Big Bash in Australia and CPL in the Caribbean run. These tournaments might not be as highlighted and financed like the IPL, but it is always a positive thing to have a competitive T20 tournament in the calendar."
The tournament, which was successful as far as on-field affairs went, was put on hold after the completion of the second edition in February 2013, as it was weighed down by all kinds of off-field controversies ranging from non-payment of players to spot-fixing scandal.
Regarding franchises, Sinha said: "None of the franchises had kept their commitment to us. So legally they have failed to meet the requirements. They have not even approached for settlement and have not replied to any of our letters to communicate; it seems at the moment these franchises won't be there for the next edition. But if they pay all the dues, and appeal to be part of the next edition, the board will decide on whether to keep them or not."
"You all know very well why the BPL was not held last year. There were a few irregularities which were addressed by the anti-corruption committee. That problem is solved now. We felt that that structure is not a sustainable one. It does not complement the economic structure of our country. For example, the event management group that took the rights for BPL was supposed to pay the BCB Taka 400 crore over 6 years, excluding the production and other costs. So it was a very non-sustainable deal. So we will make changes to the financial structure," informed BPL governing council member secretary IH Mallick.
Regarding the non-payment issue, he said: "We [BCB] have taken responsibility and already cleared all the dues of the players from the last tournament. There are just a few claims left and we have decided to clear all the valid claims within 2-3 weeks. We have entrusted Naimur Rahman, chairman of cricket operations, with dealing with claims of the local players. As for the foreign players, we are cross-checking their claims and will clear the valid ones as soon as possible. As far as we have checked, 90 per cent of the players' payments have been cleared."
Mallick said that BCB was not a loser financially at all from the last two tournaments though they didn't receive the dues from the franchises and hoped that they would receive Tk 6 crore more from event management company, Game On, which might win the media rights in the third edition.