MUMBAI: Stung by the stringent criticism from some shuttlers over the way player auctions for the upcoming Indian Badminton League were conducted recently, the Badminton Association of India and the league’s organisers have barred players from talking to the media.
“It has been decided that only BAI president (Akhilesh Das Gupta) and Ashish Chada (CEO of the league’s commercial partner Sporty Solutionz) will issue statements. Clauses have been inserted into the contracts for officials and players,” a top source said.
Controversy erupted after Jwala Gutta and her former doubles partner Ashwini Ponnappa, bronze medalists in the 2011 World Championship and title winners in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, lashed out at the IBL after their base price was slashed to half just before the start of the auction.
Jwala and Ponnappa were two of the six icon players who went under the hammer, but just hours before the auction, the IBL decided to reduce their base price from $50,000 (Rs 29,86,264) to $25,000 (14,93,125) after consultation with the six franchises.
In the auction, Jwala went to Krrish Delhi Smashers for $31,000 (Rs 18,51,520), while Pune Pistons bagged Ashwini for $ 25,000.
“When you sign a contract stating that you are an icon player, who wouldn’t be sad or feel cheated or let down. I have promoted IBL like no other player. I have been to many cities to promote it. I thought icon players will be treated equally,” a miffed Jwala had said soon after the action.
A couple of days later she said she was still happy to be a part of IBL and will let her racquet speak for her on the badminton court.
“The minimum thing we expected was to be informed. Nevertheless, I am very happy to be part of IBL. I am very much looking forward to it. Badminton court is my territory and thats where I will do most of my talking. I will let my racquet speak for myself,” Jwala said.
Men’s doubles specialists Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas too cried foul for being treated as “low profile players” and having their base prices slashed at the auction without being informed.