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Indian broadcasters resume demand for e-auction; express concerns at PWC exit

By Real11 - Aug 25 2022 134 Views
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Indian broadcasters resume demand for e-auction; raises concerns at PWC exit

The letter war between the International Cricket Board and the broadcasters appears to have resumed with just around 24 hours left in the media rights competition. The departure of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the unbiased auditors of the media rights deal, has drawn the ire of the broadcasters. They have demanded the recall of PWC.

"PWC opting out of the bid process at this late stage, only re-affirms the material concerns that we have had all along on the auction process and have raised it with the International Cricket Board on several occasions in the last few days. These developments are casting a cloud over the entire bid process which should be avoided," a Viacom 18 mails mentions. The mail, addressed to Anurag Dahiya, the chief commercial officer of the International Cricket Board, also renewed its demand for e-auction. "We strongly urge the IBC/International Cricket Board to consider the above and adopt e-auction as the sole process for the current bid."

The absence of an independent auditor and intransparency can be pointed out by the communication, sent on Wednesday night. “At the outset, we are surprised at this development and the manner in which the International Cricket Board has handled the same. The International Cricket Board has chosen to vaguely communicate PwC's resignation to the bidders by carrying out changes to the process document, without any formal explanation.

The least that one expects is that the process for auction of a global event that has the attention of so many people who love the sport be undertaken in a fair and transparent manner. We would request the International Cricket Board  to immediately confirm if PwC will be involved in the process going forward and if not, the firm that will replace PwC. We also request the board to provide the reasons that led to this development," the letter states clearly criticising the methodology."

Viacom, once again made a lot of buzz and spoke of a boycott "We are again requesting the IBC/International Cricket Council to take strong steps to safeguard the sanctity of the entire process. Specifically, in the interests of complete transparency and fairness, we request IBC to immediately cancel the currently envisaged closed bidding process for first stage and adopt an e-auction process in entirety. The above development has dismayed us so much that in the absence of such transparency as requested, we may be forced to revisit our participation in the process" 

The International Cricket Board is yet to comment upon the entire situation but sources have reiterated the argument made on Wednesday that PWC has not resigned. “They (PWC) are simply not needed for this part of the process because their role was as a custodian of the financial bids, if they had been submitted on Monday. Instead the broadcasters themselves are the custodians and will bring them to the International Cricket Board offices tomorrow (Friday) and they will be opened directly in front of all of the bidders," the International Cricket Board sources have said.

The International Cricket Board also seems to be determined and is understood to have written to the broadcasters stating that the process will be the same as before, with an independent oversight of the process. An International Cricket representative confirmed that there will be independent oversight of the process tomorrow (on Friday).

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