Court rejects ZEE claim – BCCI is not a state

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Just when you thought the India cricket rights fiasco was dying down, up comes another twist!

The Indian Supreme Court today dismissed ZEE TV’s petition challenging the scrapping of four-year telecast rights for domestic cricket matches.

ZEE had challenged the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to cancel the channel’s bid for telecast rights.

A five-judge bench said the board is an autonomous body and the government has no regulatory authority over it.

Though the apex court has given it’s ruling on the status of the BCCI, the legal battle for over the termination of ZEE’s contract by BCCI is still open and it will be fought in the high courts.

ZEE says it will still challenge the manner in which it was denied the rights after being the highest bidder.

“Our SLP challenging the decision of Bombay HC allowing ESPN-STAR to withdraw their petition is still pending before the Supreme Court. We can approach High Court for termination of contract by BCCI,” said Pratibha Singh, counsel for ZEE Telefilms.

ZEE TV had emerged as the highest bidder for the telecast rights but ESPN-Star Sports had challenged in Bombay High Court the Board’s intention to award the contract to ZEE.

However, BCCI later had withdrawn its letter of intent to award the contract to ZEE on the ground that the channel did not have requisite technical expertise to carry out the telecast.

For the BCCI, today’s court order may have provided some relief but with the Indo-Pak series only a month away its still not certain just who will be telecasting the big matches.

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