The BCCI could literally end up paying a huge price for hosting the T20 World Cup in India next year. The seventh edition of the marquee event is scheduled to be played in India in October-November this year. The tournament was originally scheduled to be played in Australia last year but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Later, the ICC gave the hosting rights for the tournament to India while Australia will host the same competition in 2022. The BCCI now faces a situation which could see them paying up to a massive Rs 906 crore tax if the Union government declines to grant full tax exemption for staging the T20 World Cup in the country this year.
Even if the government grants partial exemption, the board will have to pay at least Rs 227 crore tax, if it wants to host the tournament. In case things don’t pan out as planned, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has also earmarked the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a backup venue to host the seventh edition of the tournament.
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The BCCI has already missed a couple of deadlines – December 31, 2019, and December 31, 2020 and the pressure keeps mounting on the board to decide quickly if it wants to host the prestigious tournament. According to CricketNext, a BCCI official said that the new and revised deadline is in February. The BCCI has been trying to persuade the government for full tax exemption for the 2021 T20 World Cup for quite some time now but the government is yet to take a final decision on the request.
With the BCCI failing to get the green light from the government over the tax exemptions, the ICC has given them two options. They are: the T20 World Cup is relocated to the UAE and other is that it provides an undertaking that if it fails to get the exemption then it will have to meet the tax liabilities, which could be a minimum of Rs 226.58 crore and a high of Rs 906.33 crore.
In 2011 as well, when 50-over World Cup was held in India, the Manmohan Singh-led government sat on the application from the BCCI for inordinately long, before the then Prime Minister himself intervened and granted it at the last minute. The BCCI would be hoping for a similar kind of favour from the central government this time around.
At the same time, the Indian cricket board would be worried with the treatment they received in 2016 when the Narendra Modi-led government had granted only 10 per cent tax exemption and not full for that year’s T20 World Cup. And because the government had not granted full tax exemption, the ICC has withheld $23.75 million from the share that the BCCI was entitled to receive from the game’s world governing body.
“The matter was discussed for 10 to 15 minutes, after which the house authorised the BCCI office-bearers to deal with the issue. But what was evident was that all the office-bearers were not on the same page vis-a-vis the question of whether the BCCI should forego the hosting rights if the government doesn’t grant full tax exemption. Some members said it was a matter of prestige – izzat ka sawal hai — that India should pay the tax and host the World Cup, if it comes to that,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by the news outlet.
In case, the government declines to provide full tax exemption, BCCI’s chances of hosting the 50-over World Cup in 2023 could get affected too. Experts say that if the government declined exemption for the 2021 T20 World Cup, it was unlikely that it would change its mind for the 2023 World Cup, which will also require full tax exemption.