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BCB CEO Nizamuddin: Robi’s reason for ending sponsorship not acceptable

  • Published at 09:35 pm August 27th, 2018
BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury BCB

The BCB high-up said the board is not ready to accept the claim made by Robi in order to terminate the deal

BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury believes telecom giant Robi's decision to prematurely terminate the title sponsorship deal with the board might have come from a strategic move of the company. The BCB high-up also said the board is not ready to accept the claim made by Robi in order to terminate the deal.

According to Robi - who were contracted as the sponsor of the Bangladesh cricket team, Bangladesh A side, Bangladesh U-19 team and Bangladesh women's team till 2019 - the deal was losing its relevance. 

The BCB had given Robi the “Category Exclusivity” which barred the national cricketers from endorsing competitive brands. However, as many of the leading cricketers were already engaged in deals with other telecoms in the market, the BCB was taking time to fulfill the commitments made to Robi. But after waiting, Robi decided to pull out from the deal.

"They (Robi) had an objection to the endorsement deals of individual players from conflicting brands. So according to Robi, they have taken this step (to terminate the contract) as the issue was not completely solved," said Nizamuddin to the media at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Monday.

"But we think this issue might have been triggered from a strategic move. We are not ready to accept their claim fully. We had taken several steps after discussing with Robi. You all know that Shakib al Hasan was endorsing a mobile network company and he had terminated that deal once we communicated with him. The same was the case with Tamim Iqbal, who was endorsing Grameenphone. Our captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza's deal with Grameenphone was in the process of termination. So we were going through a process due to which it is disappointing to see Robi make such a sudden move," Nizamuddin explained.

There is though a bit of argument regarding the ongoing issue between BCB and Robi. It is understood that players who were endorsing different telecom brands were already in contract and the exclusivity to Robi was given later. 

Robi claimed the national team rights for the second time from June 2017 to June 2019 for a record Tk60.01 crores and it was only then that the two parties, BCB and Robi, had come to the decision of not allowing players to endorse competitive brands.

According to media reports, ace all-rounder Shakib had signed with Banglalink in 2016 while other cricketers in the shape of Tamim, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman and Taskin Ahmed started working with Grameenphone around that time. Mashrafe had first worked exclusively with Robi and then switched brands to endorse Grameenphone. 

The national cricketers contracted to the BCB have to obtain an No Objection Certificate from the BCB before signing an endorsement. And in this case, all the players had taken the clearance from the board to work individually with mobile network companies.

When queried if barring the players from endorsing conflicting brands was recently placed, Nizamuddin said, "This was being discussed for a long time now. This clause was there for the cricketers to maintain. But they had already been working with the conflicting brands so it takes time to bring them out of those deals. We also needed a breathing space and were coming to a settlement with Robi through discussion. But the sudden decision coming from them is disappointing. Still, I would like to thank Robi for being with Bangladesh cricket for the past few years."

"These deals at different times, there was no conflicting terms when Mashrafe's contract was agreed. This conflicting term was not there in the first term of contract (2015-17) with Robi and only happened later. We addressed the players when this conflict rose and had told Robi we are trying to come out from it," the BCB CEO added.

Robi first got the Bangladesh team rights in the 2015-17 fiscal years. The telecom giant had purchased the rights from media planning company “Top of Mind”. Top of Mind had initially bought the rights for Tk41.41 crores.

Following the conclusion of the two-year deal, Robi was awarded the rights for another two years from June 2017 to June 2019. Robi had emerged as the highest bidder among the five participants and grabbed the rights for Tk60 crores - an astonishing 44.9% increase from the previous term.