4 Nov 2010

IPL in the balance

6:49 am on 4 November 2010

The next season of the rich Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament reportedly hangs in the balance.

The event has been hit by allegations of massive corruption, money-laundering and tax evasion, as well as secret deals to hide teams' real owners and even links to India's criminal underworld

Shashank Manohar, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which owns the league, says he's determined the tournament will survive and thrive.

Lalit Modi, the IPL's founder, was thrown out of the sport by the Indian board in September over accusations about his conduct.

He's accused of misappropriating over $100 million also faces a government investigation for financial irregularities.

Although he denies all charges Modi now lives in self-imposed exile in London, surrounded by bodyguards, and claims his life is in danger from Mumbai-based gangsters linked to illegal gambling.

Two of the original eight franchises, the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, were expelled from the league last month for not declaring changes in their ownership structures.

Kochi, one of two new teams set to join the IPL in 2011, also faces the axe if it is unable to resolve ownership disputes, raising fears the IPL may shrink from the intended 10 teams to just seven.

The players' auction, which was due to be held this month is mired in confusion and unlikely to take place before January as the Indian board is still decide on how many teams will take part.