Steve Smith during match 31 of the Pepsi Indian Premier League between The Royal Challengers Bangalore and The Pune Warriors India held at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on the 23rd April 2013Photo by Ron Gaunt-IPL-SPORTZP

Pune Warriors India (PWI) has pulled out of the Indian Premier League after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) encashed the bank guarantee following non payment of the full franchise fees for IPL 6. Sahara has also urged to stop sponsoring the Indian Cricket Team by the end of this year.

The announcement came a few days after IPL was hit by the arrest of three Rajasthan Royals players - S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila - in Mumbai in connection with spot-fixing in the ongoing IPL matches.

Sahara Group, which had bid 1700 crore for Pune Franchise in 2011, has announced its decision to pull out of the IPL following BCCI's indifferent attitude towards arbitration to lower the franchise fee and its decision to encash the franchise's bank guarantee.

"...we would not keep the IPL franchisee even if the entire franchisee fee is waved off. It is firm and final decision of Sahara to withdraw from IPL," said Sahara Group in a detailed press release.

Reasoning why it decided to pull out of the IPL, Sahara said in a statement: "In 2010 Sahara had bid 1700 crs. for IPL franchise on the basis of revenue calculation on 94 matches. It was tricky on part of BCCI to put the number in Media as 94 matches for getting bigger amount."

"But we got 64 matches only. We and Kochi Team immediately protested and request BCCI to reduce the bid price proportionately for viable IPL proposition. Nothing was heard. We waited with confidence that such a sports body should have sportsmanship spirit. We continuously requested BCCI for Arbitration from June 2011," it added.

"But BCCI is only concerned about money and not about the genuine interests of the franchisee Thus, we could not penetrate BCCI's deaf ears and we announced our withdrawal in February 2012."

Sahara Group also claimed that it suggested the name of a Retired Hon'ble Chief Justice of India on the 5th March 2012 to be appointed as the Arbitrator after the BCCI requested it not to withdraw support. However, the BCCI rejected the proposed name without providing any reason.

Fed up with the indifferent attitude of the BCCI, not initiating arbitration for downward revision of the fees even after three years, the company not only decided to pull out of the IPL but also to withdraw sponsorship of the Indian Cricket Team by the end of this year.

"There is a very strong urge in us to withdraw from the Indian Cricket Team Sponsorship from today only. But, interest of the players will suffer if we do so. We share an excellent relationship with the players and will not want such dedicated and good human beings who serve the country so committed to get harmed financially due to unsporting attitude of BCCI. So we have given time to BCCI to get the new sponsorship in place from January 2014, as we will continue the national team's sponsorship only up to December 2013 that's the expiry date of the present agreement," it said.

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