BCCI bans teams from partnering with betting and tobacco companies

The BCCI released a 68-page guideline to the five clubs prior of the inaugural season of the WPL, explaining what commercial affiliations and other sponsorships are and are not permitted.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has instructed the Women’s Premier League (WPL) clubs to avoid any commercial relationships with betting, cryptocurrency, real money, gambling organisations, and even those associated to the tobacco sector.

The BCCI has issued an instruction to the WPL clubs stating that it has no objections to them having business relationships with fantasy sports, but that they should avoid organisations involved in the aforementioned categories.

The BCCI has warned that any infringement of these laws might result in disciplinary action and has directed franchisees to submit copies of all commercial agreements 10 days before the commencement of the WPL season. The inaugural season of the WPL will take place from March 4 to March 26.

“No franchisee shall undertake a partnership or any kind of association with an entity that is in any way connected/related to an entity that is involved/operates, directly or indirectly, in the betting/gambling/real money gaming/tobacco sector. The franchisees may engage in partnerships with entities in the fantasy sports sector,” explained the BCCI advisory.

The BCCI guidance is consistent with the government’s regulations, which have outlawed betting sites and consider fantasy sports as a test of talent rather than chance, as directed by the Supreme Court of India.

“No franchisee shall engage with any entity that may utilize its association with a franchise (and consequently the WPL) to propagate surrogate advertisements (i.e., an advertisement that duplicates the brand image of one product to promote another product of the same brand) to promote any entity having any kind of association or operating/functioning in the non-permissible categories mentioned above. The franchisees should provide full details of the rights and benefits that will be utilized by their sponsors, not less than 10 days before the start of the season, as per the franchise commercial deliverables sheet, which will be shared by the BCCI,” the advisory added.

“These guidelines form part of the WPL regulations and any breaches of these guidelines will be dealt with as per the provisions of section 6 of the operational rules. Any breaches of the clothing & equipment regulations will be dealt with as per the provisions of the disciplinary process,” the BCCI advisory also explained.

The inaugural WPL match will take place in March 2023. There will be five teams. Several local and international players, including India’s Smriti Mandhana, were acquired during this week’s player auction. She was the auction’s most expensive purchase, representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 3.4 crores.

All matches will be played at the Brabourne Stadium and the DY Patil Stadium, with the tournament opening set to take place between the Gujarat Giants and a franchise controlled by the Mumbai Indians.


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