The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is not going to end its association with the current Indian Premier League sponsor and Chinese mobile brand Vivo, informed the board treasurer Arun Dhumal on Friday.
The call to stop using Chinese products has been in the air ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Indians to become Atmanirbhar. But with Indian and Chinese troops in a stand-off at the border region in Ladakh, which has resulted in the killing of 20 Indian soldiers, anti-China sentiment has become strongest.
However, Dhumal asserted that sponsorship from Chinese companies help the Indian economy and the country’s interest. The BCCI gets Rs 440 crore annually from Vivo and the five-year deal ends in 2022.
VIVO is a Chinese smartphone manufacturing company which bagged the IPL title rights in 2017 for a period of five years. The company brought the deal for a record ₹2,199 crore (US$288 million). Following the violence that broke out between the Indian and Chinese troops at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on 15 and 16 June, Dhumal confirmed that the China-based VIVO will continue to be IPL’s title sponsors, thus ending speculations about BCCI reconsidering their deal.
While issuing a media statement, the BCCI official stated that the contract between IPL and VIVO was signed by their predecessors and the five-year “will continue” till its term ends. He also said that as far as anti-China sentiment is concerned, he and the board are all in for banning Chinese products. Dhumal stated that for him and BCCI as an organisation, the country always “comes first”.
Another Chinese mobile brand, Oppo, was the main sponsor of the Indian cricket team till September last year when Bengaluru-based educational technology firm Byju’s replaced it.
Even though Dhumal stated that he was all for putting an end to the usage of Chinese products, he would want the Chinese companies to be allowed to do business. He said that he was fine as long as the Chinese money was coming into the Indian market.
“If they are not supporting the IPL, they are likely to take that money back to China. If that money is retained here, we should be happy about it. We are supporting our government with that money.”
“If I am giving a contract to a Chinese company to build a cricket stadium, then I am helping the Chinese economy. GCA built the world’s largest cricket stadium at Motera and that contract was given to an Indian company (L&T),” he said.
“Cricketing infrastructure worth thousands of crores was created across country and none of the contract was awarded to a Chinese company.”
The treasurer further added that BCCI – the richest cricket body in the world – has always had a plethora of choices when it came to choosing sponsors and the situation remains the same. However, he argues that if the Chinese companies were allowed “to sell their products here, it is better that part of money comes back to the Indian economy.”
“If that Chinese money is coming to support Indian cricket, we should be okay with it. I am all for banning Chinese products as an individual, we are there to support our government but by getting sponsorship from Chinese company, we are helping India’s cause.”
“We can get sponsorship money from non-Chinese companies also including Indian firms. We can support our players anyway but the idea is when they are allowed to sell their products here, it is better that part of money comes back to the Indian economy.”
“The BCCI is not giving money to the Chinese, it is attracting on the contrary. We should make decision based on rationale rather than emotion,” he added.