LAHORE: Clarifying its position over the sale of the broadcasting rights for the next two editions of the Pakistan Super League, the Pakistan Cricket Board issued a press release on Tuesday saying that “the predefined process in the Bid Document was adhered to” at all times during the bidding procedure.

The statement came after Transparency International Pakistan wrote a letter to the PCB after receiving a complaint about irregularities in the procedure after the rights to broadcast the Twenty20 league in Pakistan were awarded to a consortium comprising ARY Communications (Pvt) Limited (ARY) and Pakistan Television Corporation Limited (PTVC).

TIP said that that the complainant had said that the granting of the broadcast rights to the consortium was “a violation of the Public Procurement Regulatory authority (PPRA), 2004 rules”.

It that TIP had learned that Independent Media Corporation Pvt. Ltd (IMC– the parent company of GEO Entertainment Television Pvt Ltd) “had bid Rs3.74 billion for two years alone, while PTV and ARY consortium had bid Rs 2.1 billion for one year”.

“The complainant wrote if PCB had to approve the bid of the consortium, then it should have been Rs4.2 billion for two years but upon re-bidding, PCB approved the bid of the consortium for 2 years of Rs 4.35 billion,” it stated.

TIP also expressed surprise at why “despite the experience of 65 years of sports broadcasting, why did PTV not bid individually for broadcasting rights of PSL?”

The PCB said in its statement that it had invited bids for broadcast rights through a public tender advertisement and had received two bids.

“Just before announcement of the Reserve Price set by the PCB, the IMC representative raised a concern, asking the PCB what process PTVC, as a state broadcaster, had followed to align itself with ARY. The PCB advised that this query was better directed towards the PTVC who would be best placed to respond,” the PCB said.

“Bidders were asked if there were any further concerns or objections before the PCB announced the Reserve Price and then opened the sealed financial proposals. No further concerns were raised and both bidders agreed for the bidding process to continue.

“After which, the PCB announced the Reserve Price of PKR3.584billion for two years in the presence of both the bidders.

“Before the financial proposals could be opened, the representative of ARY/PTVC stated that their financial offer as contained in the earlier submitted Financial Proposal document was for one year and requested that its value should be considered doubled. The PCB informed the ARY/PTVC representative that a verbal request made at this belated stage could not be entertained in order to modify the contents of the sealed financial proposal. Hence, the request was declined and this decision was accepted by the bidders.”

It added that neither IMC (Rs3,360,000,000) nor ARY/PTVC (Rs2,108,786,786) could not meet the reserve price set by the PCB at Rs3.584billion and therefore both bidders were offered another opportunity to exceed the reserve price with a sealed revised financial proposal and both exceeded it.

The IMC offered Rs3,740,000,000 while ARY/PTVC offered Rs4,350,786,786 and was therefore awarded the rights.

The PCB concluded saying that a bid evaluation report was made available on its corporate website after the Dec 23 bidding process while it had not received any complaint regarding it to its Grievance Redressal Committee.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2021

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