IPL verdict puts off JSW’s plans to acquire IPL team


New Delhi: The USD 11 billion steel and power conglomerate JSW has put on hold plans to acquire an IPL cricket team in the wake of betting scandal hitting the star-studded cricketing league. Sajjan Jindal-led JSW was reportedly in talks with Diageo to buy United Spirits’ stake in Royal Challengers Bangalore. He added that the situation is “too fluid” for a company to take decision and it is better to “wait and watch” how the situation unfolds in order to take any concrete decisions.

“As the JSW Group Chairman said we are interested in acquiring an IPL team, we are still interested in it, but the events in the past two days have forced us to wait and watch the situation and then take a decision after things are clear,” JSW Sports CEO Mustafa Ghouse told PTI.

On July 14, a three-member panel headed by former CJI R M Lodha had suspended the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals for two years from IPL in a clean up of cricket, hit by the 2013 betting scam involving their top officials Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra.

Meiyappan, a former Team Principal of India Cements Ltd (ICL)-owned franchise CSK and Kundra, co-owner of Jaipur IPL that runs Rajasthan Royals (RR), were suspended for life from any matches conducted by BCCI. Mustafa further said: “After the IPL event, I’m sure any company interested in buying an IPL team will wait for things to clear. We need to see the decisions of the BCCI and IPL following this. We do understand that there are 2-3 IPL teams on the block that can be acquired. Unless there is clarity, how can we go ahead with such a move.”

A person in know of the developments on IPL said that JSW Group has been interested in Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). “Why wouldn’t they. It’s among the top 3-4 teams in the league, has a very impressive lineup and is associated with a great city that is the silicon valley of India ensuring no dearth of advertisers. Added to this is that the present owners want to sell it, if they (JSW) negotiate well then they might get a good price for it,” the person said.

Another source said that there is too much confusion around IPL at the moment. With two teams being suspended and talks of Kochi getting back to the IPL fold as well as 2-3 teams on the acquisition block, no one will jump in at this time. They will obviously wait and watch.

Besides cricket, JSW Sports is also exploring opportunities in kabaddi and hockey. “Look at the first season of the Kabaddi league. It got so much of good reviews. And the hockey league has also done well. We are looking at these two sports, but nothing has been finalised so far,” Ghouse said. .