By Abhishek Roy, New Delhi, Feb 25 IANS | 5 months ago

Rajasthan Royals chief executive Raghu Iyer said the franchisee will cooperate with the investigating agencies if they probe its co-owner Raj Kundra's alleged role in betting in the Indian Premier League (IPL).


Iyer also stated that the IPL revenues will take a hit if the Twenty20 league is shifted out of India.

Iyer told IANS that even Kundra has agreed to cooperate in the investigation if asked.

As for this year's IPL, he said if it is shifted to South Africa as once in the past, the revenues will take a substantial hit and hoped for a clear picture to emerge after a working committee meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) slated for Friday.

Reacting to Justice Mukul Mudgal's report on spot-fixing and betting, Iyer told IANS that "the report has not indicted Raj, it has merely said his role in the alleged scandal should be further probed."

"In fact, Raj has also agreed to cooperate with the investigating agencies. As a franchise, our stand is very clear, we will cooperate with the investigation agencies."

The Supreme Court panel headed by Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal has come down heavily on Kundra and his celebrity axctor-wife Shilpa Shetty for their role in betting in the IPL.

Mudgal in his report to the apex court said the couple should be suspended from participating in any activity of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), including IPL matches, pending outcome of the probe.

"We will abide by whatever the Supreme Court says in the matter next month and the BCCI decision," Iyer said on the sidelines of a seminar organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Asked whether the BCCI had its checks and balances in place when the IPL was launched, Iyer said: "They were, but maybe certain things go diluted. When the league was launched, only a billion- dollar company could bid for a team. These were BBCI's decisions and we can't complain about it hindsight if they didn't work."

Iyer said whatever happened with Rajasthan Royals, whose three cricketers - including former India pacer Sreesanth - were arrested by Delhi Police for their role in alleged spot-fixing in the IPL, was unfortunate.

"What more can we do to check the bona fides or the morality of a player? Rahul Dravid and I have always been asked whether match-fixing will end forever. The answer is: there will always be some individuals who will indulge in malpractices, these will be isolated cases."

"There are strict laws for murder and rape, but they still happen, cricket is no exception. Black sheep will always be there and only stricter implementation of laws can check the menace," he said.

On the IPL being moved out, Iyer said: "I am afraid it may not be a good move, considering the running costs of the tournament will go up and consequently the franchise stand to lose out on substantial revenues. But then there is no way out, we have to live with such things."

Is it good for the IPL if it has to go out of the country every fifth year because it clashes with the general elections?

"I feel the league can be more popular, like it was in 2009 when played in South Africa. So every fifth year we get a chance to take it overseas and give it a different flavour. This year hopefully we will see the IPL being played in India for at least a month after the elections are over," he said.

(Posted on 25-02-2014)