LAHORE: No deliberations were held over the longstanding demand of Pakistan Super League (PSL)’s franchises to review the financial model of the franchise-based T20 competition when PCB chief Ramiz Raja had a brief preliminary meeting with the owners.
Although detailed discussions have been scheduled for Monday, Friday’s meeting was physically attended by representatives from Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars, while the remaining four were present through video link.
The PSL has been making headlines for wrong reasons over the past four years and the burning topic is the financial health of the franchises, who are demanding a bigger chunk than the 80 percent from the revenues generated, with the rest going to the PCB coffers.
Another lingering issue is the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee over the past three years. The franchises are asking the PCB to fix a US dollar price in local currency to offset the losses since the franchises have to pay their foreign players in dollars.
These demands were first put up during the tenure of Najam Sethi, the PCB chairman who launched the league in 2016. But neither Sethi nor his successor Ehsan Mani paid any heed. The franchises moved the Lahore High Court against a PCB decision to pay annual fees by Sept 25, 2020, without clearing the financial dues of the league’s 2019 edition.
Later however, both parties pledged to solve their issues out of the court.
But these issues are undermining the PSL’s immediate future. PCB are in pole position after having signed a 10-year agreement with the franchises before the start of PSL’ inaugural edition.
According to that agreement, in case any franchise does not want to continue, the PCB will auction that franchise on their own and take all the money without offering any share to the original team owners. So if any franchise wants to quit PSL it will get nothing from the goodwill amount of the franchise as all benefits will go to the PCB from the new buyer.
The franchises have the claim that they were losing 15 to 18 million dollars for every edition and in these circumstances it is not possible for them to manage their affairs.
But PCB’s stance is that since as the franchises have signed the long-term agreement, they must abide by it.
However, during his presser earlier this week, Ramiz said he would request the franchises to increase remuneration of foreign players to attract top names of world cricket. This step, in turn, will be helpful to encourage other nations to tour Pakistan any security fears.
The franchises, at this point in time, are refraining from spending more under the existing financial model.
It is pertinent to mention here that Multan Sultans are the biggest sufferers after having paid $6.5 million when they joined the PSL family as the sixth franchise in 2018. In contrast, Karachi Kings were priced at $2.6million, Lahore Qalandars $2.5 million, Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi $1.5 million each and Quetta Gladiators $1.1 million.
Meanwhile in brief media release after Friday’s meeting, the PCB said: “Ramiz Raja highlighted and appreciated the franchisees’ contribution in the growth, development and promotion of Pakistan cricket, and assured the team owners that he remained committed to enhancing and strengthening the HBL PSL brand.
“The chairman assured the owners that he understood the challenges they faced and promised to work with them.”
Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2021