Few days back, the Lodha panel appointed by the Supreme Court of India, issued a landmark judgment in suspending the IPL franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for a period of two years in regard to the fixing allegations of the 2013 edition of the IPL.
The decision raised major concerns over the credibility of the IPL as a sporting league and hinted that fixing in IPL could be a more of a reality than most people thought it is.
Both the team owners were hoping that the franchise could get away with hefty fines, but the panel was in no mood to take a lenient approach and the panel labeled the conduct as violation of the “integrity of the game”.
The decision also leaves the fate of next year’s IPL slightly in the dark, and affects most of the stakeholders in different ways.
Although the board said it would completely respect the verdict, help upload the integrity of the game and clean up the sport of cricket, the truth is that the BCCI has a major damage control task on its hand.
With two teams being suspended, the number of matches could be reduced from 60 to 34 and that would mean renegotiation with broadcasters and other agencies taking a big hit at revenue.
According to the ruling, both Gurunath Meiyappan – the son-in-law of Narayanaswami Srinivasan and Raj Kundra have been suspended for life from any cricket related activities. Guess we will be seeing much less of Shilpa Shetty anywhere around the IPL next year.
The general consensus is that the punishment was fitting of the acts of these people, keeping in mind that the series of incidents has tarnished the image of the game and the players associated with it.
The suspension of the teams has also put in jeopardy the future of the players who are still affiliated to Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings. It is relatively unclear what will be done to accommodate these players if they do happen to play in the next edition of the IPL.
Forming two new teams or franchises seems a way out, but the practicality of that idea still has to put to the test.
The coaches of these teams who are still contracted will also have to make deal with a wait and see approach as they repercussion of the ruling unfold.
Although, the decision was taken after considering the interests of the fans in a larger picture, it must have been a blow to the fans as they can expect to see no more live version of the IPL happening in Chennai or Jaipur for a considerable amount of time.
Also the expulsion might dent the loyal fan base established by the clubs, especially CSK who have been the most successful club in IPL history.
The decision took a step in the right direction with punishing the guilty with no amount of mercy, it also raised questions over the legitimacy of the sport and how money has started to take precedence and corrupt the sport itself.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.