Wednesday, May 18, 2022

IPL Controversy: Why BCCI Sourav Ganguly Has To Step Down As ATK Mohun Bagan Director

ATK Mohun Bagan is owned by Sanjiv Goenka-led RPSG Group, which will now own an IPL team based out of Lucknow.

IPL Controversy: Why BCCI Sourav Ganguly Has To Step Down As ATK Mohun Bagan Director
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly is a share holder in ATK Mohun Bagan, the Indian Super League team that is owned by Sanjiv Goenka's RPSG Group. RPSG now owns a team in IPL too. Courtesy: RPSG

Sourav Ganguly, no stranger to allegations of conflict of interest in his capacity as a cricket administrator, has reportedly stepped down as a director of the Indian Super League (ISL) team ATK Mohun Bagan, which is owned by RPSG Ventures Limited. (More Cricket News)

The Sanjiv Goenka-led RPSG Group won the rights to own a new Indian Premier League (IPL) team in Dubai on Monday. RPSG group paid a whopping INR 7090 crores (940 million USD) to emerge as the top bidder and the team will be based in Lucknow from IPL 2022.

CVC Capital, a private equity firm based in Luxembourg with massive investments in betting and gambling companies, bagged the second team to be based in Ahmedabad. CVC Capital bid 5625 crores to outbid 'favourites' Adani Group which offered 5100 crores.

READ: Lalit Modi Questions CVC Capital's Entry Into IPL

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, who faces conflict of interest charges for his association with an online gaming platform, is a stake holder in ATK Mohun Bagan. He has been a brand ambassador of the Goenka's ever since the football team ATK (Atletico de Kolkata) was born in 2014 in collaboration with Spanish league giants, Atletico Madrid.

ATK have been ISL champions and in July 2020, ATK became ATK Mohun Bagan after joining forces with the legendary national club of India. Although there is no association with Atletico Madrid any more, RPSG has retained the ATK brand.

According to the BCCI constitution, based on the recommendations made by the Justice RM Lodha committee, BCCI chief Ganguly will be in conflict of interest if he retained his position in ATK Mohun Bagan.

As per BCCI Rule 38(1) (i), any individual associated with the BCCI is in direct or indirect interest When the BCCI, a Member, the IPL or a Franchise enter into contractual arrangements with entities in which the individual concerned or his/her relative, partner or close associate has an interest. This is to include cases where family members, partners or close associates are in position that may, or may be seen to compromise as individual’s participation, performance and discharge of roles.

Sanjiv Goenka said in an interview to CNBC-TV 18 on Monday that Ganguly was on the verge of stepping down.

"Well, I think he is going to step down from Mohun Bagan completely... I think today," Goenka told the TV channel. "It is for Sourav to make the announcement. I mean, sorry. I think I pre-empted it."

In 2019, Ganguly was charged with conflict of interest for being the president of Cricket Association of Bengal, a TV commentator and an advisor of IPL team Delhi Capitals.

This time, the Goenkas clearly did not want any embarrassment involving their brand ambassador and their new IPL team.


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