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IPL 2020: Vivo to pull out as title sponsor

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on August 4, 2020 | Last updated on August 5, 2020 at 12.28 am
VIVO IPL, indian premier league, india china clash

Vivo pulled out following criticism on social media in the backdrop of the violent clashes between Indian and Chinese troops.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could be looking for a new title sponsor, perhaps just for a year, for its prized baby — the Indian Premier League (IPL) — after news reports emerged on Tuesday that Chinese phone giant Vivo was mulling a full or a part withdrawal.

Although there was no announcement from Vivo, Indian media quoted BCCI sources as saying that the Chinese company took this decision to avoid bad publicity. The popular franchise tournament has received backlash because of its Chinese sponsorship following the skirmish between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley on June 15, which killed 20 Indian troops.

Since then, the Indian government has taken various measures like banning Chinese apps as well as restricting trade. BCCI’s lucrative five-year deal with Vivo, signed in 2017, is worth $330 million. Apart from Vivo, official partners Dream 11 and umpire partner Paytm, also have Chinese investments.

When Khaleej Times sought clarification from BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal, there was no response from him.

It is being said that Vivo could return following a one-year moratorium once matters subside. On Sunday, the IPL governing council had decided to retain all the sponsors following a review. With this season’s IPL, the 13th edition, to be played in the UAE from September 19 to November 10, there is a faint possibility of a UAE company coming on board as the title sponsor.

On Sunday, the IPL governing council had decided to retain all the sponsors following a review. According to reports, the Confederation of All India Traders urged the Indian government to block the IPL, while the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) threatened a boycott of the tournament if Vivo was not dropped as the sponsor.

“We want to urge the IPL organisers to reconsider their stand on sponsorship by Chinese companies. Please remember the nation’s pride and security above all,” SJM said in a statement.

In the current climate, it is being said that Vivo could return following a one-year moratorium once matters subside. That perhaps makes sense with both the parties, the BCCI and Vivo, taking stock of the situation and finding an amicable solution for now. They could engage on fresh terms before the next edition comes about.

But the timing of this development is what would be causing a serious headache to the BCCI. There is just close to 45 days to the start of the tournament and if Vivo’s pull out is indeed true, the Indian cricket board will be scrambling to find a sponsor in such a short span of time.

Unconfirmed reports said that the BCCI has already begun talks with Indian companies to step in for this year.

With this season’s IPL, the 13th edition, to be played in the UAE from September 19 to November 10, there is also a faint possibility of a UAE company coming on board as the title sponsor.

james@khaleejtimes.com 


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