Even as the ongoing dispute over four-year cricket telecast rights to cricket in India remains undecided, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considering seeking a modification of the recent Bombay High Court order, according to BCCI lawyers. The court had, on Wednesday, asked BCCI not to award telecast rights to any third party, till a decision is taken in the Zee-ESPN Star Sports case. BCCI is expected to seek a revision of the court order to ensure that the first series (India-Australia) in the four-year contract beginning October 6 is telecast.
Meanwhile, the hearing of the Zee-ESPN case ended inconclusively on Thursday. The case will come up for hearing on Friday now. Zee had emerged as the highest bidder in the race for telecast rights to international matches to be played in India for four years, but ESPN moved court over violation of bidding norms etc.
At present, BCCI is of the opinion that a broadcaster would require about 10 days to prepare for the telecast of the matches, and that the Zee-ESPN legal battle is likely to go on for sometime.
The hearing at the Bombay High Court on Thursday witnessed ESPN Star Sports’ counsel maintaining their stand that Zee did not possess the required two years of sports broadcasting experience which did not qualify them for the telecast rights. Chartered accountant S Gurumurthy, Zee advisor, was in the court. Zee is being represented by law firm Dua & Associates.
Eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who was representing Shri Adhikari Brothers promoted television channel Sabe TV, also made an appearance.He argued that the cricket telecast rights should not be given to a foreigner. “ESPN Star Sports does not have an address in India and does not pay its taxes here,” he said. About the eligibility factor in the ongoing dispute, he said BCCI has asked for a complete baggage of production. “What you produce is the most important thing,” he emphasised. While the court will continue the hearing on Friday, there’s no clarity on how long the dispute will go on.