Badminton

PBL won’t be profitable till fifth year, says BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma

“The agreement between the Licensee and BAI is for 10 years and we had initially calculated that the league wouldn’t be profitable till fifth year,” said Sarma.

Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Himanta Biswa Sarma feels the next three editions of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) will be crucial as the lucrative league is likely to make profit only after the fifth year.

“The agreement between the Licensee and BAI is for 10 years and we had initially calculated that the league wouldn’t be profitable till fifth year,” Sarma told PTI.

“So now our agreement with Star TV will come for renewal on the fifth year and only thereafter the league will be profitable. This is the third edition and so another two years there will be a bit of challenge. So for next two years probably we will have to be a bit defensive.”

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Sarma, who was appointed the interim head following the sudden demise of former president Akhilesh Das Gupta in April, also reiterated that the pending court cases with Sporty Solutionz will have no bearing on the PBL 3, starting on December 23.

“BAI’s dispute with Sporty Solutionz is strictly limited to claims and counter claims. I think franchises shouldn’t feel anyway disturbed or demotivated that some litigation is going on. It is an old litigation,” he said.

Sporty Solutionz had sought a stay on the PBL till the issue is settled and the hearing is scheduled for December 11.

Sarma said: “Last time also they asked for a stay. Normally in arbitration case, court decides on the claim and counter claim in terms of money.”

“As far as staying is concerned, Courts don’t normally interfere and last time also they asked for a stay and court didn’t give. I strongly believe this time also the occasion will not arrive,” he added.

The eight-team league currently has only six franchise owners, with the Delhi and Mumbai teams being governed by the BAI’s governing council for now.

Sarma said: “This time we have increased the number of teams to eight and out of them, franchises have acquired six teams. Delhi and Mumbai are with SportzLive, but I think these two also will be sold, it is in the process of selling.

“Teams of Delhi and Mumbai will play in the league but when they will have a franchise, that is a decision to be taken by Sporty Solutionz. We have given that mandate to them. Whether these teams will be sold or not sold, we will not come into that picture,” he added.

‘Will soon decide the next Senior Nationals schedule’

After the resounding success of the Senior National Championship in Nagpur last month, Sarma said he will be meeting the players during the inauguration of PBL and India Super Series in Delhi to decide the schedule for the next edition of the event.

“Next year during the Delhi Super Series, I will get a chance to meet all the players and we will decide the slot. The players are committed to play. It was decided that they will have the meeting among themselves and let us know the schedule. So during the PBL inauguration and Delhi Super series, I am going to meet them,” he said.

There were some criticism regarding the timing of the Nationals which was held ahead of the China Super Series Premier and Hong Kong Super series.

A few players such as Ajay Jayaram and Pranaav Jerry Chopra were injured during the tournament, while Kidambi Srikanth had aggravated a leg injury during the Senior Nationals.

“Srikanth had told me at Nagpur before the tournament that he is not playing at China since he was playing back to back tournaments. So that was pre-decided but regarding Pranaav and Ajay’s injury I am not aware,” he said.

“Nagpur stadium is a superb stadium, players can get injured even abroad. That hazard is always there but this time no injuries reported linking it to Nationals. Playing nationals in more important, otherwise we will not get next generation of players,” he added.

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