With the IPL imbroglio boiling over and culminating in the expulsion of two teams, Kings XI and Rajasthan Royals, let’s take a quick look at the scenarios that could unfold:
1. The two franchise owners could go to court thus staying the auction of players in Jan 2011. This could have the effect of jeopardising or at the least delaying IPL 4 with two possibilities arising: one that the teams are reinstated and thus IPL 4 goes on as scheduled, with some last-minute patch-ups and glitches.
The other is that the BCCI move is upheld and Raj Kundra and Preity Zinta sustain losses on their investments. The fans of Rajasthan Royals and Punjab XI are left feeling disgruntled and the other franchisee owners are left holding their queasy tummies in the sickening realization that the BCCI is a law unto itself and business motivations can take a backseat.
2. Another scenario is that the other IPL teams protest the BCCI high-handedness—as evident in the heated response from Vijay Mallya to the autocratic action—and the IPL teams are shrunk further by pull-outs. Raj Kundra claims that he has the support of the other team owners.
The Formula 1 had a similar scenario unfold quite recently but Ecclestone was able to lure new teams into the new, less expensive format.
Is it possible that the BCCI is considering something on these lines thus reducing the amount of moolah in play?
That would be a welcome move; it would also help make the franchises sustainable.
3. A third scenario could be that the Kochi franchise is unable to meet the BCCI requirements and given the limited time available, the IPL 4 would take place with just seven teams.
The BCCI, in all probability, will pull out all stops and bend backward to ensure that the Kochi consortium is given enough leeway because their success is seen as one way of proving their bête-noire Lalit Modi wrong.
The demise of the Kochi team would leave the BCCI with egg all over their faces—who cares whether the egg is scrambled, hard-boiled or fried?
4. A fourth possibility is that the arbitration process (read the Indian judicial system) leads to a fine being levied on the two teams. Is this a more likely outcome? A compromise that would leave all interested stakeholders reasonably satisfied.
5. Another possibility is that the teams are sold off to new owners. This was definitely what a few of the owners were looking at before the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department threw a spanner in the works with their investigations into the pattern of ownership and the mode of foreign exchange transfers into the country. Also, the disbanding of the existing teams makes the current valuations appear suspect thus making prospective buyers wary. Caveat emptor, indeed!
These scenarios are not mutually exclusive and thus there can arise interesting possibilities in the vagaries of IPL team owner's fortunes.
This is also not an exhaustive list of outcomes but the most plausible ones.
Would someone care to lay odds on these outcomes?
It is not for nothing that it is said that if something needs to be complicated just hand it over to Indian officials and the web they weave can leave even the most prolific spider astounded!
Note: This article is an updated version.