Soon after the Board of Control for Cricket in India terminated a contract it held with the World Sports Group (WSG) for media rights to the Indian Premier League cricket competition, the international sports marketing agency has hit back with a strongly-worded letter to board secretary, N Srinivasan.
The issue is the recent step taken by the BCCI on the 'facilitation fee' that WSG was supposed to get from MSM, the Sony Group firm, on the broadcasting rights for IPL matches in the Indian subcontinent. The fee was for relinquishing its rights in this regard in favour of MSM.
In its strongly-worded missive, WSG not only stoutly defends the reason for the contentious facilitation fee was, but also suggests that if any fraud was committed, this was on the part of the BCCI, and not its commercial partners, as alleged.
Seamus O'Brian, chief executive officer of WSG, argued, ''The BCCI has led everyone to believe since the inception of the IPL, that the chairman and commissioner's signature is singularly required, authorised and binding on all matters. If the BCCI now says that this was not the case, then we (World Sports Group), together with many others, would have every right to assume that the BCCI have indeed perpetrated a 'fraud' by telling the world that one of its officers had powers that he did not.''
O'Brien's letter is in response to Srinivasan's letter to WSG on 28 June, when he had terminated the agreement between BCCI and WSG for the international media rights on the IPL. The BCCI had said it was not aware of MSM making paying Rs425 crore to WSG for relinquishing its sub-continent media rights for the IPL. BCCI had termed this an improper payment and said the money rightfully belonged to the board.
WSG insists that there is no basis for the termination of their contract with the board, and that the company would take ''whatever steps are necessary in whatever part of the world to ensure that agreements with our business are honoured''.