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A fresh start for BPL?

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A fresh start for BPL?

Post  Admin on Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:51 pm

When the former Bangladesh Cricket Board president AHM Mustafa Kamal haphazardly launched the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in 2012, he perhaps thought that those early loopholes of the slam bang T20 competition would be fleeced out with the progress of the event.

However, events that transpired after that told an altogether different story despite the fact that it was an instant hit on the playing surface with fans turning up in numbers to enjoy games and the players finding a refreshingly new avenue to earn good money.

It collapsed on all fours after two turbulent editions following that infamous admission of Mohammad Ashraful, who confessed to have been involved in match-fixing for Dhaka Gladiators against Chittagong Kings. It was only a tip of an iceberg in a troubled BPL which had got more enemies off the field than on it. To be frank, starting from choosing Game On as event management consultant to the introduction of six franchises for the first edition in a gala ceremony and the handling of management affairs by the BPL Governing Council, the one thing that was desperately missing was professionalism. The only motto of every stakeholder, who was not even bound by a well defined law, was to spend lavishly with a desperate dream of earning quick money.

The end result was a total embarrassment for the BCB. The non-payment of players, especially the foreigners, hit a lot of international headlines. The credential of franchise owners had been questioned repeatedly. The BPL Governing Council had also come under serious scrutiny for failing to even formulate a clean playing condition, let alone handling other serious issues like finance and governance.

So, when the board took the decision to suspend the BPL in 2013, it gave the governing body of the country's cricket the time to revisit the whole range of affairs and find out what and where things went wrong.

Nobody has argued the necessity of a franchise-based domestic T20 competition. It's now a popular event on the domestic calendar of every Test-playing nation. Besides, the T20 competition has been treated as a lifeline for many cricketers, who have been struggling for survival after the decline of domestic club competitions including the Dhaka Premier League, which had been a major source of income for many players.

It's not a strange decision by the board to re-launch the BPL after one year in hibernation.

The board has recently advertised for the franchise ownership rights of the BPL for a period of four years from 2015 to 2018 for seven regional teams of Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Sylhet.

In that advertisement the board sought Expression of Interest (EOI) from interested organisations by August 17.

The ad stipulates that the BCB has decided to start afresh with new franchises. It's a good move on the part of the board. But the question is if the BCB has learnt from its previous mistakes and more importantly whether it has settled all the outstanding issues.

The board is yet to address if it has settled the payment disputes of foreign and local players who took part in the first two editions of the BPL. It was learnt that only three out of seven franchises, now stand terminated, have decided to negotiate with the board regarding the outstanding bills. It has been gathered that the board has got about 20 valid claims of outstanding payments from foreign players. The number of claims from local players is more than 100.

“I'm afraid not a single local player has got his full payment,” quipped one cricket organiser jokingly.

The board has also not disclosed the outstanding payment that is due from the seven franchises, which is reportedly more than Taka 10 crore. BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury, when contacted last night, said that they were close to resolving the financial issues with Game On and its TV rights holder Vergos Media.

The board has also not cleared the air about its organisational failure in running the first two editions. It could have been wise had the board formed an independent panel to investigate the whole affair. It might have done it on its own but the credibility of that fact-finding mission can only be described as an attempt to keep those dirty works under the carpet when that investigation is done keeping the incumbent BPL chairman and its member secretary firmly rooted in their own positions.

For a fresh start it is absolutely imperative to clean your home first. At this moment it looks like the incumbent board president Nazmul Hassan Papon has decided to follow the path of his predecessor. And the fear is whether the BPL baby is heading for another rough ride.

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