The Indian Premier League is undoubtedly one of the most influential cricketing leagues in the world. Being viewed by more than 350 million people, it is a significant contributor to the revenue of the BCCI every year. Several leagues like The Big Bash League and The Caribbean Premier League followed after the IPL. It was none other than former Vice President of the BCCI, Mr. Lalit Modi, who put forth the idea for this revolutionary league. He has received several awards, specifically concerning the IPL.
The idea for the IPL bloomed from India’s love for the game and extravagance. This new league launched just as the T-20s gained traction among the cricketing crowds in 2008. Unlike the traditional long-format Tests and One-day games, the IPL enticed an entirely new generation of fans and rose to fame. Initially, the idea of IPL had been rejected by the BCCI. However, the stakeholders realized the league’s potential and ensured its establishment in 2008, when Lalit Modi was the Vice President of the BCCI. Soon, Lalit Modi became the first chairman of the IPL, and by 2013, an unwavering 139 million Indian homes had tuned in. Overnight, IPL became one of the biggest things in cricket, attracting several big-name sponsors such as Vodafone and Pepsi. Today, the IPL reached its 15th edition in 2022 and is still growing in viewership.
Despite the spectacular success of the IPL, issues like corruption, and lack of governance raise several questions amongst fans. One such controversy that rose to fame is the MSM and WSG facilitation fee scam. Lalit Modi reigned as the IPL commissioner in the year 2008. The same year, the media rights for screening the IPL were going to be distributed, and the MSM group requested to take charge. However, WSG claimed acquisition of the media rights earlier on. Instead of quickly turning down MSM’s offer, the IPL informed MSM that WSG was willing to give up these rights to MSM for a whopping 425 crores. After following through with this deal, MSM paid an initial amount of 125 crores, only to find out that no such agreement between WSG and the BCCI existed in the first place. Tracing back, Lalit Modi was found to be the only single source of communication for the claimed agreement.
Soon after, the BCCI suspended Lalit Modi from the post of chairman, and with time charges on him only increased. The Enforcement Directive was contacted, launching a full-scale investigation. Lalit Modi had no other choice but to escape to London, with a non-bailable arrest warrant issued in 2015. However, Lalit Modi never returned to India, and these charges against him remain unprocessed.