Arbitrator says Baseline didn't fudge books, denies VFI IP rights

Kolkata, Jan 19 : In the case of illegal termination of the agreement of Baseline Ventures India Pvt Ltd for conducting the Pro Volleyball League by the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI), the federation received a major blow on Sunday with the arbitrator ruling that there is no financial irregularity in the accounts submitted by the company to the federation

The sole arbitrator in the case had been appointed by the Chennai High Court.

The federation in its termination letter dated November 19, 2019, had said that widespread manipulation of accounts was one of the major reasons for terminating the agreement with Baseline Ventures.

The arbitrator stated that the audit report submitted by Baseline did not suggest any manipulation of the accounts and that the federation had no reason to claim any manipulation.

Observing that the federation had not undertaken the due process mentioned in the agreement for termination, the arbitrator also said that apart from earning Rs 3.5 crore from the league, the federation had gained everything from the conduct of the league. Players, who were usually remunerated in the range of Rs 40,000-50,000 were paid in the range of Rs 5 lakh-8 lakh through the league, while also nurturing and honing players' competitiveness as well as earning public adulation and support.

On the matter of the intellectual property (IP) rights of the league, which was another reason given by the federation for terminating the agreement, the arbitrator held that the matter has no relevance for the league as the IP rights are non-transferrable as per the terms of the agreement.

For the benefit of the players and the development of the sport, the arbitrator opined that the federation may initiate the process of its own league but with the stringent condition that it should declare the pendency of arbitral proceedings, and that any fresh contract will be subject to finalisation of the decision of the arbitral tribunal.

The federation would also need to return Baseline Rs 2.25 crore before initiating any such process, which would be over and above the damages which Baseline is entitled to claim.

(IANS)

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Arbitrator says Baseline didn't fudge books, denies VFI IP rights