- - - picture: Pune can play five foreigners if all teams agree: BCCI - -



Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pune can play five foreigners if all teams agree: BCCI

Some headway seems to have been made in talks between the Indian cricket boardand Sahara India to resolve the crisis arising out of the company threatening to pull its team, Pune Warriors, out of the Indian Premier League. 

BCCI is believed to have told Sahara it would not object to Warriors fielding five foreign players if other IPL teams do not have any problems. 

Pune team owner Sahara has been demanding a slight relaxation in the rules to allow it to play a fifth foreign player to help fill the gap created by the absence of ailing star Yuvraj Singh. 

Sources in the board said that Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan is also involved in the discussions and is mediating on behalf of the IPL teams. Sources said Khan volunteered to call a meeting of all IPL teams to discuss the issue further. 

However, sources added that if Warriors is allowed a fifth player, it could open a Pandora's Box, with other teams likely to place similar demands in the future. 

"Shah Rukh is of the opinion that Sahara has a genuine problem (with Yuvi's absence) and so a detailed discussion could help its cause. If all teams are willing, the board doesn't have any problem with it," a top BCCI official told TOI. 

The board appears to be making a concerted effort to resolve the row with Sahara and fielded former president Shashank Manohar, who is now believed to be playing a key role in the negotiations

Manohar met the Sahara group head Subrata Roy on Monday and has been speaking with board officials to end the impasse. 

According to BCCI sources, the board is not going back on its decision to allow mediation on Sahara's request for a rebate of 27 per cent on the franchisee fee for Warriors because of the reduced number of matches from the promised 94 to 74. 

Overall, the chances of Warriors playing in this year's IPL appeared bright, board sources said. "Sahara has communicated its willingness to continue with the franchise. I cannot say anything about the Team India sponsorship as yet," a senior BCCI official told TOI.

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