Pune, Rajkot named new IPL franchises for next two years

NEW DELHI: Western Indian cities of Pune and Rajkot will be home to two new franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the next two years, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Tuesday.

The new teams will fill the void left by the two-year suspension of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises following an illegal betting scandal in the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament.

New Rising, a consortium led by Sanjiv Goenka, chairman of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, bagged the Pune team while mobile manufacturers Intex made a successful bid for Rajkot in a reverse bidding process.

Under reverse bidding, investors were asked to bid lower than the base price of 400 million rupees (about $6 million), the maximum amount the BCCI offered to pay from the IPL central revenue pool to the new owner.

Having bid in the negative, New Rising will pay 160 million rupees while Intex will shell out 100 million rupees for their respective teams, the BCCI said.

"They won't be taking even a single penny from the BCCI but they will be contributing... from their side to the BCCI," BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur told reporters.

The Twenty20 league, with a $3.5 billion estimated brand value and boasting of Bollywood stars and major conglomerates as investors, has been dogged by corruption allegations for years.

In July a panel set up by India's top court recommended suspending the franchise owners of the two teams for two years following an illegal betting and spot-fixing scandal.

The panel was established by India's Supreme Court after a separate committee had carried out the investigation into the scandal, which broke in 2013.

More than two dozen people, including players, officials and bookmakers, were arrested by Indian police. Many were later charged with various offences.

($1 = 66.7550 Indian rupees)