The three-year deal worth 22.5 crore between commentator Navjot Singh Sidhu and television major Star India has gone into intervention following the channel accused the former cricketer of breaching a contractual agreement of ‘exclusivity’ by working for Star India’s competitor when he chose to do be a part of the commentary panel of Indian Premier League 2014. Accepting Star India’s plea that arbitration proceedings be initiated so that it can seek damages and a refund of fees paid to Sidhu, Bombay High Court Justice R D Dhanuka appointed Mumbai-based Advocate Zal Andhyarujina as the sole arbitrator. READ: Dhoni joins Sehwag in Cricket for Heroes charity match at The Oval
According to a report from Mid-Day, as per the three-year deal, beginning from May 2013, Sidhu, who was a sitting Member of Parliament from the BJP at the time, had agreed to be bound by an exclusivity obligation, under which, amongst other points, he had agreed to work exclusively for Star (Sports) India and not any third party (including other third-party broadcasters).
According to the deal, Sidhu was expected to provide not less than 150 days of commentary for the first calendar year of the agreement and not less than 180 days for the subsequent calendar years. Star India agreed to pay him the yearly fees in advance of Rs 8 crores, within six months of execution of the agreement. Further, the channel alleged that despite paying the commentator the advanced fees Sidhu failed to meet his commitments because he provided only 41 days of commentary and completely disregarded the exclusivity commitment by agreeing to work for its competitor, Sony, for IPL 2014, in contravention of his obligation. VIDEO: India vs Sri Lanka 2015, 3rd Test at Colombo (SSC), best catches
It has been a major loss for Star since the channel had not only invested a massive sum of money but also its time and man-hours of its various personnel in order to build Sidhu as its principal Hindi commentator for Star Sports. They said the premium for his fees was largely derived from the fact that he would be exclusive to the channel.
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