Leading investment firm CVC Capital Partners have had their stakes in several foreign betting companies called into question by peers, in the wake of their successful bid for a new IPL franchise. Nevertheless, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has disregarded the objections stating betting and match-fixing are very different activities, as reported by Outlook.
CVC Capital Partners is a private equity and investment advisory firm with investments across the globe amounting to approximately USD 111 million in secured commitments. This includes stakes in some major betting companies based abroad as a part of its diverse portfolio. However, while gambling and betting are illegal activities in India, many countries allow the same to be carried out under a certain framework.
The IPL has previously been embroiled in some major scandals regarding betting and match fixing, including a 2013 bust up which eventually saw its two franchises Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings being suspended from the league for two years. CVC was awarded the Ahmedabad franchise in the premier Indian cricket competition for a bid of Rs. 5,600 crores, the second highest behind RPSG Group’s Rs. 7,900 crore bid for the Lucknow franchise. Other bidders included the likes of the Glazer family, the majority stakeholder of football club Manchester United, and Indian tycoon Adani who had made a bid of Rs. 5,100 crore.
The league’s founder Lalit Modi, who was ultimately ousted himself for alleged wrongdoings involving the bidding process for new franchises in 2010, tweeted, “I guess betting companies can buy a @ipl team. must be a new rule. Apparently, one qualified bidder also owns a big betting company. what next - does @BCCI not do their homework. What can Anti corruption do in such a case ? #cricket [sic]”.
Despite the concerns regarding the new IPL team owners, BCCI is yet to acknowledge the matter officially. Outlook has reported its sources stated that the authority had strangely failed to discover the betting links of CVC during a survey of the company’s financials. However, it doesn;t seem to be a major issue for them.
"CVC Capital is a big private equity company and they are free to pick up stakes in a betting company because betting is legal abroad. Irelia Company Pte Ltd (through which CVC Capital bid) could be managing many funds but as long as they don't have any managerial role or control, how does it matter? Betting is a matter of perception. It should not be confused with match-fixing," a senior BCCI official was reported saying by Outlook on Wednesday.
Competitor Adani Group is said to be currently mulling over its legal options, but is yet to make a formal written complaint. The BCCI and CVC are currently involved in discussions regarding the issue, but ultimately the Board remains convinced that CVC are in the clear, as per all the information available as of now.