The name board of the ultra-modern Sahara Stadium was covered with a black cloth on Tuesday. Until a day back, the letters ‘Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium’ was displayed on it prominently. Now, the Maharashtra Cricket Association is believed to have terminated the contract with the Sahara Group.
Sahara India had won the contract to keep the naming rights of the stadium. Originally, Sahara India Group was suggested as the name. Owing to technical reasons — the rules did not permit associating the ground with any corporate brand — the MCA named it the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium.
“They (MCA) have terminated the contract, as the group has apparently failed to meet the deadline of the promised money over the name of the stadium,” said a source.
Even the Sahara officials were unwilling to come on record or clarify the matter.
It is understood that the group owed MCA Rs207 crore. The amount was to be paid by 2011. The MCA’s idea of selling the naming rights had seemed a bright move at the time, considering that the sum Sahara paid them comprised over two-thirds of the stadium’s overall cost.
Should the issue reach a deadlock, it would be interesting to see whether the association will rename the stadium.
Meanwhile, according to reports on Tuesday, Sahara has already moved Bombay High Court against MCA for “wrongful termination of agreements”. Sahara claimed it had already fulfilled its agreement signed with the MCA regarding the construction, naming and building of a club adjacent to the ground.
It has been reported in the recent past that the Maharashtra Cricket Association, an affiliate of the BCCI, is finding it difficult to service loans on time.
Rating agency CRISIL had also downgraded it to ‘D’ from ‘BB’, it was reported.