WSG hits back in BCCI row

July 1, 2010

World Sport Group (WSG) has hit back at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after the board cancelled its media rights contract for the Indian Premier League (IPL) with them.

The BCCI ended the deal with WSG amid allegations of “all-pervasive fraud” supposedly carried out when the agency was agreeing a new deal with Indian broadcaster Multi Screen Media (MSM) for the domestic television rights last year.

It is alleged that during the dealings with MSM, WSG received a ‘facilitation fee’ of US$80 million, which the BCCI claims it has only just been made aware of.

MSM has since agreed to pay the US$80 million directly to the BCCI, and is now taking legal measures to recover the US$25 million already paid to WSG.

However, in a strongly-worded letter written by WSG chairman and chief executive  Seamus O’Brien to BCCI honorary secretary, N. Srinivasan, he rebukes the allegations made by the BCCI and the subsequent cancelling of its contract with WSG.

In the letter O’Brien says: “Not only have you failed absolutely to provide any evidence on which you base your allegations, but you have not engaged us in a single conversation or request for information to help you reach your decision, despite our numerous attempts to do so.

“We believe we have been an invaluable partner to the BCCI for many years and indeed would hope that this can continue for many more to come. Rest assured that we will take whatever steps are necessary in whatever part of the world to ensure that agreements with our business are honoured and complied with, and our good name and reputation preserved.”

O’Brien added: “We hereby reject in the strongest possible terms, either your rescission or termination of our agreement with you dated 25 March, 2009, if for no other reason than you have no basis whatsoever on which to do so.”

Meanwhile, Srinivasan has said that a new tender for the media rights held by WSG will be launched soon. “We have terminated the existing contract with WSG after thorough investigation and will invite fresh bids very soon,” he said.