Ahmedabad IPL franchise: CVC’s Asian fund does not have links to betting companies, says BCCI official

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The BCCI seems to be OK with CVC Capital Partners’ acquisition of the Ahmedabad franchise in the Indian Premier League, as the understanding is that the international conglomerate’s Asian fund, which made the investment, doesn’t have links with any betting companies. Still, to be completely ascertained of the facts, the cricket board is likely to form a committee in a few days.

CVC’s ownership of the Ahmedabad franchise wasn’t discussed at the BCCI’s Annual General Meeting in Kolkata on Saturday. Informally, though, the Board members have been apprised of the developments. “CVC has two funds, European funds and Asian funds. While its European funds have links with (sports) betting companies, where betting is legal, its Asian fund is clean. And they invested from their Asian fund. That’s the understanding. Still, the BCCI is likely to form a committee in a few days to be doubly sure,” a Board member who attended the AGM, told The Sunday Express.

It is learnt that the BCCI’s understanding is based on its legal team’s due diligence on CVC Capital Partners’ investments. Under the ‘portfolio companies’ list on the CVC Capital Partners’ website is Tipico, a sports betting and online gaming company, and Sisal, a betting gaming and payments, consumer/retail company. But those are found to be linked to their European fund.

CVC Capital Partners were the second-highest bidder, as the BCCI brought in two new franchises from the 2022 IPL onwards. While they won the Ahmedabad franchise for Rs 5,625 crore, the Lucknow franchise went to the highest bidder, the Sanjiv Goenka-owned RPSG Group, for Rs 7,090 crore.

CVC’s acquisition of an IPL franchise, however, had been questioned, bringing about a tweet from former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, who posted: “I guess betting companies can buy an IPL team. must be a new rule. Apparently, one qualified bidder also owns a big betting company. what next? does BCCI not do their homework? what can Anti-corruption do in such a case? #cricket”.

But the understanding is that investing from a fund with no links to betting companies could be good enough for CVC to retain the Ahmedabad franchise ownership. CVC is an international conglomerate with a strong connection to sport through previous stake-holding in Formula 1 and a recent minority stake in La Liga.

As a BCCI functionary said, the cricket board has “full rights” on whom to award the franchise ownership and in case the second-highest bidder is disqualified, the third-highest bidder – Adani in this case with Rs 5,100 crore – would be the next in line.



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