Lucknow, Ahmedabad set to join IPL fold

GC to ratify formalities for new teams, decide auction details and discuss venues

Ahmedabad and Lucknow are set to be formally included in the IPL family on Tuesday. The IPL governing council (GC) will ratify the formalities which have been delayed because of confusion over the legality of the Ahmedabad promoters.

“It has been decided to release the Letter of Intent (LoI) to the Lucknow and Ahmedabad promoters after tomorrow’s GC meeting,” IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel told The Hindu on Monday.

Despite RPSG Group (₹7,090 cr.) and CVC Capital Partners (₹5,625 cr.) being announced as the owners of the Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises respectively, the formalities had been delayed after doubts were raised over CVC Capital’s alleged involvement in sports betting business.

This led to the BCCI consulting legal luminaries, including the Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta. With the BCCI having been advised that its initial diligence was correct, the BCCI office-bearers on Monday decided to award the LoI.

The GC is set to determine the details about the deadline for the new teams’ pre-auction picks, the dates and venue of the auction, and the possible venues for IPL 2022.

With the existing eight teams having announced their retained players, the BCCI is likely to ask both the new teams to submit the list of their three pre-auction picks by Republic Day. While K.L. Rahul is among the frontrunners to lead the Lucknow franchise, the Ahmedabad promoters are understood to be in discussions with Hardik Pandya to be the face of the franchise.

Despite the COVID-19 surge, the BCCI is hoping to stick to the plan of conducting the mega auction on Feb. 12 and 13. It is understood that the GC is likely to shortlist the Mumbai-Pune corridor, with four stadia, as the most viable venue for the 15th edition, likely to begin on April 2.

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