The dispute between Cricket Australia and Channel 7 has intensified with the broadcaster saying CA is “terrified” of the BCCI while approaching a court and seeking access to communication between the two boards.
According to ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, the channel “confirmed it had lodged an affidavit with the court here in a pre-discovery action, as the media company attempts to prove its contention that CA breached its contract with a raft of scheduling changes this summer” in order to cater to the BCCI’s interests.
Seven West Media’s chief executive James Warburton said that CA should have started the summer with the day-night Test against India, which is now scheduled to start in Adelaide on December 17, instead of the limited overs series comprising three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals.
“It’s a shame that the cricket administration have kept their head in the sand. They really don’t value us as a broadcaster, preferring to outperform to the BCCI, who they are terrified of,” Warburton was quoted as saying by the daily.
The channel’s contention is that the top bosses in CA gave preference to the wishes of the BCCI, the sport’s most powerful governing body, as well as its other domestic broadcasting partner Foxtel.
Foxtel, a pay channel, holds the exclusive rights for the limited overs matches between Australia and India, which kicked off the summer at the expense of the originally scheduled Test series, which the aggrieved broadcaster — free-to-air — shares with Foxtel.
Now they are seeking access into e-mails exchanged between CA, BCCI as well as executives at Foxtel and state governments regarding finalising of the fixtures for the marquee tour.
According to the Australian daily, if the furious broadcaster succeeds in “proving before court that CA breached its 450 million Australian dollar contract with Seven, of which Seven pays 70 million in cash per year, the network could be awarded tens of millions of dollars in damages or look to terminate its deal, which has three years to run.”
One the tour’s biggest draws, Indian captain Virat Kohli’s decision to come back after the opening Test for the birth of his child has left Channel 7 at a major disadvantage.
In October, Seven West Media had sought official arbitration in its bid to secure a cut in its annual fees after being dissatisfied with the schedule for the India tour.
The network had sought an independent expert to determine the rights value of this summer’s schedule, including the four-match Test series against India and the Big Bash League.
The network’s claims included CA’s decision to “change of dates for the matches, with only one Test before Christmas and the final Test finishing in mid January when many people are back at work.”