Although the IPL has been a supremely successful tournament, it has found itself in the middle of many conflicts with various cricket boards as well as its own players and officials. Here are the top 10 controversies in IPL history.
10. Conflict with ECB
The first of the top 10 controversies in IPL came before the tournament started. The inaugural IPL season coincided with the English County Championship season as well as New Zealand’s tour of England, which is why the ECB and county cricket clubs raised their concerns to the BCCI over players. The ECB made it abundantly clear that they would not sign No Objection Certificates for players to play in the IPL, making it clear to them that their duty to the country comes first. As a result, Dimitri Mascarenhas was the only English player to have signed with the IPL for the 2008 season.
9. Tax Exemption
After the Central government granted tax exemption on the World Cup held in India to the ICC to the tune of Rs 45 crore, a PIL was filed against the IPL and its franchisees to recover entertainment tax. The matter was taken to the Finance Ministry because it was alleged that IPL tickets were being sold at exorbitant rates and only the rich could purchase them.
8. Media Restrictions
Another one of the top 10 controversies in IPL tournaments arose from the issue of media restrictions imposed by the IPL. Initially, the IPL enforced strict guidelines on the media covering the matches, which was deemed unacceptable by print media around the world. The threat of boycott caused the IPL to ease up on several restrictions, and a revised set of guidelines was soon put forward and accepted.
7. Conflict With CCI
IPL rules allowed the winner of the previous competition to decide the venue for the finals next year. In 2009 the reigning champions Deccan Chargers chose the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, but no IPL matches could be held at the stadium due to an ongoing dispute regarding the use of the pavilion. Members of the Cricket Club of India (CCI), which owns the stadium, refused to forego their right to use the pavilion despite being offered free seats in the stands.
6. Suspension Of Lalit Modi
On 25 April 2010, the BCCI suspended the IPL chairman Lalit Modi, for “alleged acts of individual misdemeanours”. This gave rise to one of the biggest entries from this list of the top 10 controversies in IPL, as a day of negotiations with interlocutors attempting to persuade Modi to resign ensued. Modi was later officially barred from participating in the affairs of the Board, the IPL and any other committee of the BCCI, and it was also alleged that many important documents relating to the BCCI and the IPL were missing.
5. Mistreatment Of Women
One of the biggest among the top 10 controversies in IPL history has been the mistreatment of women. A South African cheerleader was relieved of her duties by the Mumbai Indians for alleging that cricketers misbehaved with the cheerleaders and how poorly the girls were treated. There were also molestation charges levelled against Australian batsman Luke Pomersbach by an American woman, which were later dropped.
4. Spot-Fixing Scandal
On 16 May 2013, three players from the Rajasthan Royals were arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of spot-fixing: Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan, and Ajit Chandila. On 24 May 2013, Gurunath Meiyappan, a top official of the Chennai Super Kings franchise and son-in-law of BCCI president N. Srinivasan was also arrested in Mumbai by Mumbai Crime Branch in connection with illegal betting. Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra was also found guilty along with Meiyappan with regards to an illegal betting and match-fixing probe, and both were suspended from all cricket-related activities for life.
3. Pune Warriors India Pull Out
On 21 May 2013, the IPL franchise Pune Warriors India (PWI), which had failed to pay the full franchise fee for the year, announced its withdrawal from IPL. Led by the Sahara group, PWI later gave way to another franchise from Pune in the form of Rising Pune Supergiant.
Perhaps the most well-known incident from the list of top 10 controversies in IPL matches is the 2008 Slapgate incident. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was then leading the Mumbai Indians, slapped the then-Kings XI Punjab pacer S Sreesanth in Mohali after the pacer had allegedly told Harbhajan “hard luck” after a 66-run loss. Sreesanth was later seen crying bitterly on the ground while Harbhajan was banned from taking further part in the season besides being banned from five ODIs as well by the BCCI’s disciplinary committee.
1. Pakistani Players Banned
Another major entry on this list of top 10 controversies in IPL history is the banning of Pakistani players from the 2009 season. After the Pakistan Cricket Board refused to grant permission to its players to play in India after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Indian board also decided not to allow Pakistani cricketers to play in the IPL, and it has remained that way since.