Two new IPL teams have been granted LOI by the BCCI. | Photo - IPL | Photograph:( Others )
The Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council has issued Letter of Intent to the two new IPL teams - Lucknow and Ahmedabad ahead of the mega player auction.
The IPL Governing Council on Tuesday decided to issue the Letter of Intent to new IPL franchises Lucknow and Ahmedabad, formalising their entry into the world's biggest T20 league. RPSG Group and private investment firm CVC had successfully bid for the Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchise, respectively, last October. However, the LOI got delayed after it emerged that CVC had links with betting companies outside India.
The BCCI, with the help of its legal team, took its time to probe the issue before deciding to approve the CVC bid.
"The bids were approved by the GC today, LOI will be issued soon," IPL chairman Brijesh Patel told PTI after the meeting.
The issuance of LOI means the two teams are formally part of the IPL, allowing them to pick players ahead of the auction on February 12 and 13 in Bengaluru.
Both the franchises have already recruited the support staff and they can now go ahead and sign up to three players each from the draft pick ahead of the mega auction. K L Rahul is expected to lead Lucknow and Hardik Pandya Ahmedabad.
The IPL chief said the GC plans to give them 10-14 days to pick the players before the auction.
"We have been talking to the new teams, we are planning to give them 10 days to two weeks," said Patel, adding that there has been no change in the date and place of auction.
With India experiencing a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCCI is exploring back-up options for the IPL, expected to be held in April-May, and it includes hosting the entire event in one state.
However, Patel said it is still too early to decide on the matter.
"We would like to play in India but we have to see the situation," he added.
The entire edition of 2020 was held in the UAE due to the pandemic. The tournament returned to India the following year but had to be suspended in May amid a devastating second wave in the country. The rest of the IPL had to be completed in the UAE in September-October.
"As of now, we are hosting it in India but the situation is fluid. It is too early to think about shifting it outside," added a BCCI official.