The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), announced the inaugural Nepal Premier League (NPL), in its AGM held virtually on last Wednesday. The Nepal Premier League is a milestone step in the history of Nepal cricket and the league was long-awaited in the corridors of Nepal cricket.
The Cricket Association of Nepal concluded a deal with Seven 3 Sports Pvt. Ltd., a company based in Gurugram, India, to invest a whopping sum of Rs.420 million for a total of 10 years to acquire the rights of the inaugural Nepal Premier League. The staggering amount of money that Seven 3 Sports has invested, has brought smiles to a lot of people who have vested interest in Nepalese cricket.
As per the proposed draft, Seven 3 Sports will pay a sum of NRs 420 million (~US$3.524 million) over the agreed ten-year period, conducting the Nepal Premier League and Junior Cricket Championship. As reported by CAN, the company also has agreed to help in the maintenance of at least two stadiums, pavilion, installation of floodlights, and other infrastructural development.
Lately, major gigantic cricketing boards of the world have suffered financially after the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has broken the backbone of the cricketing world as major cricketing events, tournaments, and bilateral series have either been postponed or suspended indefinitely because of the virus.
CAN’s step to form a 10-year strategic partnership with Seven 3 Sports comes at such a time when the world is looking up to boards and organizations who can successfully conduct and organize such a grand level of competition.
Voice Of Concerns Over Nepal Premier League Being Held By Seven 3 Sports Are Baseless
Some people always try to find the negative sight of an event being undertaken that can prove to be a history-maker. The Nepal Premier League isn’t far away from that and a certain set of people have questioned CAN’s inability to conduct the Nepal Premier League and hand it over to an Indian company. But all such people do not look to see through the other side of the coin.
CAN itself believes that the coronavirus pandemic has succumbed the board and that they couldn’t have acquired a better deal at the moment as sponsors are reluctant to invest their money in the Nepal Premier League, the premier franchise T20 competition of the country.
CAN Secretary Ashok Nath Pyakuryal said it had been in correspondence with S3 pre-COVID-19 and situations changed thereafter. “We have been in a situation where the pandemic is certainly not going to help us to lure sponsors who would provide us amount bigger than what is going to be agreed upon with S3,” Pyakuryal told cricketingnepal.com.
“When we began negotiating before COVID-19, it could have been a deal that would fetch us Rs 600 to Rs 650 million. For one single tournament and Junior Cricket Championship, its always going to be a good deal because S3 will also upgrade the facilities,” he added.
“People are questioning CAN’s capability of organising an event of such magnitude but this agreement itself is an answer. If there are resources available then we can make the best use of it and get paid too. CAN will have time to focus on other priorities because organising this tournament is definitely going to take a lot of time,” he said.
Moreover, Seven 3 Sports has a long association with Nepal. In 2014, it was Seven 3 Sports only that brought FIFA broadcast for the first time in Nepal. Again in 2020, it’s the same company that has won the rights to introduce an official and CAN recognise T20 league for the Nepal cricket lovers.
Also, Cricket Association of Nepal has clearly stated that Seven 3 Sports is only being granted the license to conduct the Nepal Premier League while its ownership will remain with CAN.
“The agreement is similar to giving license to the Indian company for holding the franchise-based NPL for the next ten years, though CAN will be the owner”, the president of the CAN, Chatur Bahadur Chand said.
There has also been a lot of talking about the inclusion of foreign cricketers in Nepal’s T20 league competitions and with such heavy commercials involved in the league, it will surely be a child’s play for the Cricket Association of Nepal to lure big foreign players that can team up with the local Nepalese cricketers and contribute to their success in the coming years.
As far as other running T20 cricket tournaments are concerned, Nepal can look up to their neighbouring country, India, where the Indian Premier League is the sole premier franchise T20 competition organized by the BCCI. Apart from it, State cricket bodies and associations keep organizing various T20 league competitions at their level and Nepal can certainly look to adopt the same formula.
To sum up, CAN has taken this decision in the larger interest of Nepal Cricket, its players, cricket lovers and the cricket board. Their decision is aligned with ICC vision of curbing unrecognised T20 leagues and fight corruption. Chatur Bahadur Chand, the President of Cricket Association of Nepal, needs to be congratulated for his visionary approach and his endeavour to bring Nepal on the world map of the cricketing sphere.