With two new teams added to the IPL roster from the 2022 season, RPSG Ventures Ltd and CVC Capital Partners have joined the list of team owners of the world's biggest domestic T20 league. While Sanjiv Goenka-led RPSG bought the Lucknow franchise for Rs 7090 crore, the Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners paid Rs 5625 crore for the Ahmedabad team.
One day after BCCI's announcement, former IPL chairman Lalit Modi ruffled a few feathers by tweeting that "even betting companies can buy a team", drawing attention to CVC Capital Partners' association with a Milan-based betting company Sisal.
"I guess betting companies can buy an IPL team. must be a new rule. apparently, one qualified bidder also owns a big betting company. what next? does BCCI not do their homework? what can Anti-corruption do in such a case? #cricket." he wrote in a tweet.
According to a press release on CVC Capital Partners' website, they acquired 'a 100% equity stake in Italian gaming and payments operator, Sisal Group S.p.A. (“Sisal”)' on 30 May 2016. The press release to announce the acquisition stated that, 'Headquartered in Milan, Sisal is a leading operator in the Italian gaming market and the number one provider of payments services. Established in 1946, Sisal was the first Italian company to operate in the gaming sector as a Government Licensee'.
The Indian Premier League has a troubled history with betting, with former champion sides Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals both being suspended for two seasons due to the involvement of their co-owners in betting in 2013.
Betting, while legal overseas, has not been legalised in India and therefore certain voices in India have questioned CVC Capital's association with one.
However, a report in Outlook magazine has quoted an unnamed BCCI official as saying that the board doesn't see any problem in the matter.
"CVC Capital is a big private equity company and they are free to pick up stakes in a betting company because betting is legal abroad. Irelia Company Pte Ltd (through which CVC Capital bid) could be managing many funds but as long as they don't have any managerial role or control, how does it matter? Betting is a matter of perception. It should not be confused with match-fixing," said the unnamed BCCI official, according to Outlook.