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22 May 2024

BCCI attempts to win back angry sponsor


India's cricket chiefs on Sunday met Sahara group bosses on Sunday in a bid to woo back their disgruntled long-time sponsor, amid speculation a truce was on the cards.

Sahara had severed ties with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on February 4 for what it said was a "one-sided emotional relationship" with the governing body.

Sahara is not only the national team's sponsor since 2000, but also owns the Pune Warriors franchise in the Indian Premier League which the group had bought last year for ê370 million.

BCCI president Narayanaswamy Srinivasan met Sahara chief Subrata Roy in Mumbai at a high-level meeting on Sunday which was also attended by senior officials from both sides.

A joint-statement issued after the 90-minute meeting said "all outstanding issues" were discussed and the matter will now be taken up by the BCCI's working committee in Chennai on Tuesday.

"Sahara and the BCCI met today and discussed all outstanding issues," the statement read. "It was agreed that the subject will be further discussed in the BCCI working committee meeting.

"The interaction was focused on the interest of Indian cricket, including the IPL."

Local media have speculated over the last few days that Sahara may allow Pune Warriors to rejoin the IPL for the fifth edition of the glitzy Twenty20 event starting on April 4.

But reports said Sahara are unlikely to continue the sponsorship of the Indian team, which was renewed for a four-year term in 2010 for an estimated ê115 million.

Sahara's withdrawal was sparked by the BCCI's refusal to allow the ê1.80 million salary of cancer-stricken Pune skipper Yuvraj Singh to be added to the franchise's êtwo million cap for the IPL auction in Bangalore on February 4.

Yuvraj, man of the tournament in India's victorious World Cup campaign last year, is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment for a tumour between his lungs and has been ruled out of this year's IPL.

Sahara did not take part in the auction, meant only for players not already aligned to any team, where 25 foreign and Indian cricketers were picked up by the eight remaining franchises.

The Lucknow-based Sahara group, which operates in various fields like finance, infrastructure, housing, media and consumer goods, also sponsors the Indian field hockey team.