MUMBAI - The Indian Cricket board will invite bids for two new teams for the Indian Premier League (IPL) to replace the suspended Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings for the next two editions, it said on Sunday.
A panel appointed by India's top court recommended in July that the franchise owners of the two IPL teams be suspended for two years following a corruption scandal in the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament.
The panel led by retired chief justice R.M. Lodha also recommended life bans on Chennai official Gurunath Meiyappan and former Rajasthan co-owner Raj Kundra. Both were found guilty of illegal betting by another committee appointed by India's Supreme Court.
"The Justice Lodha committee interim report will be implemented fully," the BCCI said in a statement after a working committee meeting.
"The two franchisee teams, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals remain suspended for two years.
"BCCI will float tenders and invite bids for two new teams to replace CSK & RR in the Indian Premier League for 2016 and 2017 (2 years)."
The decision would mean that the tournament, with a $3.5 billion estimated brand value and boasting of Bollywood stars and major conglomerates as investors, will remain an eight-team affair for at least the next two editions.
The BCCI also named Chinese phone manufacturer Vivo Mobiles as the new title sponsor of the IPL replacing global food and beverage giant PepsiCo who, according to local media reports, wanted to end its title sponsorship due to issues that have brought the game into "disrepute".
PepsiCo bagged the IPL title sponsorship rights in 2012 for five years (2013-17) for 3.97 billion Indian rupees ($61.37 million), almost double that DLF, India's biggest listed property developer, paid for the rights from 2008-12.
"Vivo is to give the bank guarantee in next ten days," the BCCI said, while also announcing that Nike's contract as the Indian team's official apparel sponsors has been extended.
Newly-elected president Shashank Manohar had vowed to clean the image of the BCCI after being chosen earlier this month to head the world's richest cricket board for a second time.
The board took some steps towards more transparency on Sunday by appointing Pricewaterhouse Coopers to look into how its member associations utilise the funds distributed to them by their parent body.
It also said information about all payments above 2.5 million Indian rupees ($38,644) will be displayed on its website (www.bcci.tv). -Reuters
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