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Nepal T20 in tatters as organisers flee unpaid broadcasters revolt

In what could be a major setback, the organisers of the Nepal T20 league have fled the country, leaving some of the overseas players high and dry. The league now stands on the brink of cancellation with players and broadcasters refusing to put up without their salaries.

On Tuesday, players refuse to take the field as soon as the news broke that Jatin Ahluwalia, Seven 3 Sports founder, has reportedly fled to India. The company had inked the deal with the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) after which the franchise league came into existence, according to a report in the ‘Emerging Cricket’ website.

As per the agreement with CAN and other stakeholders, Seven 3 Sports were to pay a fee between 33 to 39 million Nepali Rupees for the first season (US$250,000-290,000), with the first half to be paid before the tournament and the second half to be transferred after two-thirds of the competition had been played out. The company also had agreed to help in the maintenance of at least two stadiums, among and other developments.

The tournament ran into several issues right from the start as action on the field begun on December 24. Nevertheless, with just 20 games done, the organiser has supposedly fled just four matches short of the agreed two-third threshold.

Meanwhile, a number of overseas players revolted which made sure that Tuesday’s opening match between the Kathmandu Knights and the Biratnagar Super Kings began two hours late, and shortened to a nine-over affair.

“Pokhara Avengers in a temporary measure was able to pay their players from their own pocket in the hope payments from those funding the tournament would eventually come through, though several foreign players, most notably Sikandar Raza, nominated for three ICC Awards for his play in 2022, has already returned home,” the report said.

On-field action meanwhile has not been without it’s controversy either, with fans and pockets of the media covering event accusing players of spot-fixing. One commentator at the event, Sachin Timalsena, went as far as pulling out of the event altogether.

In an explosive video posted on Facebook, Timalsena accused players of wrongdoing.

“After looking closely at Nepal T20 as a commentator, many suspicious activity was found. Now the organisers have disappeared,” he was quoted as saying.

“From today I will not have any involvement in this league as a broadcaster or commentator.”

“Concerns surrounding Seven 3 Sports’ financial stability and experience in competition operations were flagged as early as November 2020 when the ten-year agreement from Seven 3 Sports to CAN was signed for a reported worth of around 420 million Nepali Rupees (roughly US$3.5 million dollars),” the report stated further.

An Abuse of Authority Investigation Commission in the meantime has sent a letter to both the Nepali Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Sports Council in regards to legal work permits were taken out for the foreign players at the competition. News18

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