Pakistan Cricket Board is considering the introduction of a players’ auction for the Pakistan Super League. Instead of the players draft the league currently uses. Leading cricket website ESPNcricinfo reported that. PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja is in favor of franchises being able to pick players for longer-term contracts on higher pay. It is reported that during a meeting earlier this week with the PSL franchises. The teams welcomed the “ambitious” idea. The only hurdle in the way of these changes. Is the “long-standing impasse between the board and franchises over the league’s financial model”.
After six seasons of the league, four out of the six franchises are yet to break even on their investments. Franchises say that the PSL’s current revenue distribution model is “preventing them and the league from flourishing.”
Under the current model, all six teams receive an equal share from a central revenue pool. Every season that is funded from the league’s broadcast rights and commercial deals. The annual franchise fees range from between $1.1 million to $6.35 million. The PCB stands to rake in $15.65 million every season from the fees and takes a 15% cut from the broadcast revenue stream.
In comparison, the Indian Premier League collected fees over a 10-year period from the original eight franchises. Beyond the 10-year period, the teams do not have to pay an annual fee. Elsewhere, in the Caribbean Premier League, the franchises have rights for 25 years.
The PSL franchises have a ten-year contract in place. On top of that, the PSL franchises also bear the broadcast production costs every year. Meanwhile, the PCB covers the ground and matches officials’ costs.
Earlier last year, the franchises took the PCB to court over the model, not long after the PCB had become entangled in legal disputes with the league’s broadcast-rights holder.
PCB wary change in PSL model
The Lahore High Court ordered the PCB to work with franchises and settle the lingering disputes out of court.
The PCB chairperson Ehsan Mani engaged a former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, on a one-man independent panel to recommend a solution after a series of consultations with the franchises. Justice Jillani submitted his report earlier this month but the PCB has held onto it, telling the franchises that it was a confidential document.
It is speculated that the PCB is worried about the possible legal implications of a change in the model of the PSL and the initial agreement the league was founded on. Another area of concern for the cricket governing body is the attention and possible involvement of the state’s financial oversight and regulatory authorities such as the National Accountability Bureau, the Public Accounts Committee, and the Auditor General of Pakistan.
The involvement of the said authorities will not be a surprise. For instance, in 2016, the Public Accounts Committee questioned the former PCB chairperson Najam Sethi for authorising payments of $400,000 to each franchise. These payments were originally afforded to offset losses made by the franchises in PSL’s first season.