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    BCCI gains upper hand in Nimbus row

    New Delhi: The tussle between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Nimbus Communications, its broadcasters in India, appears to have turned a decisive corner after it was brought to light that Nimbus had accepted its delay in payments to the board. In reaction to the BCCI’s content_cnion that Nimbus had been a regular defaulter, apparently owing the board almost Rs100 crore, Nimbus had released an official statement on Tuesday saying that it had “acted in compliance of its contractual obligations and variations agreed between the parties from time to time” and that it was hopeful of a reasoned conclusion in the coming weeks. Those hopes, however, remain in limbo following the BCCI’s stubborn decision to end its four-year contract with Nimbus on Monday and the content_cns of a letter from Nimbus’ Harish Thawani, a copy of which is with Cricketnext, to the BCCI. In a letter dated November 21, 2011, and in reply to a notice send by the BCCI to Nimbus on November 16, 2011, Thawani not only admitted that his company owed Rs 50 crore as payment for half of West Indies’ tour of India, but also requested a 45-day grace period to pay the balance. “As you would be aware, the last few months have been a tumultuous phase for the economy in general and for the advertising industry in specific. These extraordinary circumstances have severely impacted the business of our licensee broadcasters in India and across the world. In addition to the same, you would also appreciate that the large amount of cricket being played has caused a degree of fan apathy towards the game, which unfortunately hasn’t helped matters,” read the letter. “Despite the above pressures on us and our broadcast licensees we have managed to make most of our payments due to BCCI this year and also made a 50 crore payment (as part payment) for the West Indies Tour 2011. We now humbly request the board to grant us a 45-day grace period of the balance due (of INR 740, 875, 000) on the West Indies Tour of India. While we will do our best to make this payment on of before the 20th of December, we will undertake, at the very worst, to make this payment to you latest by the 30th of December, 2011. Further, in view of the adverse impact of circumstances mentioned above, we request the BCCI to allow us a 30-day extension for the other payments due from Nimbus to BCCI for the season 2011-12, as per our MRA.”Nimbus’ admission that is was a defaulter strengthens the BCCI’s case. On Monday, the BCCI not only denied Nimbus’ request for an extension on their payment deadline but scrapped its agreement while claiming Nimbus’ Rs 2000 crore bank guarantee as a penalty with the termination of the contract. The BCCI also claims that the decision to terminate the contract was done after prior notice, and Nimbus’ silence on the matter does not do its case any good. With a strong possibility of the entire issue ending up in court, it may be a while before we hear the final word in this dispute.