Deccan Chargers up for sale
New Delhi - Indian Premier League side the Deccan Chargers were put up for sale on Thursday in the latest upheaval for the money-spinning Twenty20 tournament that has been dogged by ownership troubles.
Deccan Chronicle Holdings, a media company, placed advertisements in newspapers inviting bids for the Hyderabad-based team to be lodged on September 13 with the new owners to be announced on the same day.
The rapid disposal of the Chargers has been widely blamed on economic pressure affecting its current owners, but it also reflects the stormy history of the IPL since it was founded in 2008.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which owns the event, threw the Kochi Tuskers out of the league last year over their failure to meet financial requirements.
A separate attempt to eject the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab in 2010 over murky ownership disputes was blocked after a court battle.
"The winning bidder will acquire... the right to own and operate the IPL team currently known as the Deccan Chargers which is and will continue to be based in Hyderabad," the advertisement said.
It added that bidders would "need to fulfil the eligibility criteria of BCCI".
Among the leading players signed up by the franchise, which finished second-last this year, are former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, South African fast bowler Dale Steyn and Australian batsman Cameron White.
Deccan Chronicle Holdings, which bought the team for $107 million before the inaugural IPL, has been ordered by banks to reduce its debts, according to Indian media.
The BCCI, which on Thursday declined to comment on the sale, is already reeling under last month's decision by real estate giant DLF not to renew its contract as the IPL's main sponsor.
DLF reportedly paid $50 million to be the title sponsor for the first five years, a deal that ended with the 2012 edition in March-April.
The IPL has become a major event in the international cricket calendar, attracting the world's most exciting players such Kevin Pietersen to entertain large domestic audiences.
But it has also been hit by a series of financial scandals, and its founder Lalit Modi was sacked in 2010 following allegations of corruption and money-laundering.
The sixth edition of the IPL will be held in April-May next year.