ESPN-Star, Prasar Bharati and Sony cleared, BCCI tells court.
In a move that could stump Zee Telefilms, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has disqualified on technical grounds its bid for rights to telecast cricket matches for the next four years.
The disclosure was made by the BCCI today in the Delhi High Court. However, bids put in by the other suitors—ESPN-Star Sports, Prasar Bharati and Sony-Set Max—have been cleared by the board.
BCCI counsel Soli Sorabjee told the court that the board wanted broadcasters with three years’ experience as the first original licencee of telecasting live international cricket matches in the past three years to bid for the telecast rights. Zee Telefilms, he added, did not fulfil this condition.
The Delhi High Court has asked the BCCI to give details of the grounds on which Zee Telefilms has been disqualified from bidding. The court has also asked the cricket board to furnish the details of financial bids.
Zee had moved the court to restrain BCCI from deciding the bids as it would prejudice its interests and had also demanded quashing of the tender documents on the grounds that the eligibility conditions were framed to oust the Indian bidders. Zee had alleged that the BCCI’s present set of eligibility criteria for bidding was framed to favour ESPN-Star Sports.
Zee Telefilms had also sought direction to the BCCI to consider its bid for the telecast of matches between October 2005 and September 2009.
While approving the interim arrangement of the BCCI to award the telecast rights to Doordarshan and production rights to Trans World International (TWI) on a petition filed by Zee Telefilms, a Division Bench of Justices M K Sharma and B N Chaturvedi restrained BCCI from opening the financial bids till December 12, the next date of hearing.
It also restrained the BCCI from awarding the contract to any TV channel for telecast of cricket matches. Besides, it also asked the BCCI to maintain the accounts of the India-Sri Lanka series starting on October 25 and the India-South Africa series in November.