Saturday November 27, 2021

Ramiz seeks PSL players auction instead of draft

By Agencies
September 27, 2021
Ramiz seeks PSL players auction instead of draft

KARACHI: PCB chairman Ramiz Raja wants to explore the idea of introducing an auction to the Pakistan Super League (PSL) instead of the draft the league currently uses, in an effort to strengthen the league.

He wants franchises to be able to pick players for longer-term contracts on higher pay and Cricinfo understands the idea was well received by franchises after a meeting between them this weekend. But standing in the way of these changes is the long-standing impasse between the board and franchises over the league’s financial model.

Ramiz met the franchises for general discussions about the league and though his ideas were said to be ambitious, the obstacle to their implementation remains the league’s current revenue distribution model, which franchises argue is preventing them and the league from flourishing. With the league now six seasons old, four out of the six franchises, it is said, have yet to break-even on their investments.

All six teams get an equal share from a central revenue pool each season (which comes from the league’s broadcast rights and commercial deals). The annual franchise fees range from between $1.1 million to $6.35 million, and the board makes $15.65 million every season from that, and also takes 15 percent from the broadcast revenue stream.

For comparison, in the IPL, the original eight franchises paid fees over a ten-year period, beyond which they don’t have to pay any annual fee. In the Caribbean Premier League, the franchises have rights for 25 years.

The PSL franchises, on the other hand, have a ten-year contract. The PSL franchises also bear the broadcast production costs every year, while the PCB covers the ground and match officials costs.

Matters came to a head last year when the franchises took the PCB to court over the issue. That came not long after the PCB had become entangled in legal disputes with the league’s broadcast-rights holder.

The Lahore High Court asked the PCB to work with franchises and settle their issues out of court. After a series of meetings with the franchises, then PCB chairman Ehsan Mani engaged a former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, on a one-man independent panel to recommend a solution. The judge submitted that report earlier this month, though the PCB has not shared that with the franchises, saying it was a confidential document.

The PCB’s reticence on the report so far is understood to stem from their fears over the legal implications of a change in the model of the league and the agreements on which the league was formed. PCB officials are thought to be worried that any change in the model of the league might catch the attention of the state’s financial oversight and regulatory authorities such as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Public Account Committee (PAC) and the Auditor General of Pakistan.

Such agencies have, in the past, got involved in these matters. The former board chairman Najam Sethi, for example, was questioned by PAC for authorising payments of $400,000 to each franchise in 2016 — payments which were designed to offset losses made by franchises in the first season of the league.