From decade-old match fixing scams to Shoaib Akhtar’s week-old allegations that BCCI postponed the T20 World Cup to make room for IPL 2020, the IPL franchise founded by the BCCI is no stranger to controversies. The latest one of course is BCCI’s ongoing love affair with brands that are either Chinese or are companies with significant Chinese investments. BCCI has officially announced that it will retain all its existing sponsorships including the ones with Chinese brands for this year’s edition of IPL.
Keeping in view the Galwan Valley Clash that cost India the lives of 20 brave soldiers, China has been a tricky topic for everyone. From the neighbourhood shopkeeper who gets enough questions about the origin of every product, to the likes of BCCI which has faced direct questions about signing sponsorship deals with Chinese brands.
The Title Sponsor for this year’s IPL is Vivo, which signed a five-year deal with the BCCI worth Rs 2199 crores in 2017. Our website’s brand directory has already detailed out the various ways in which the company has deep links with China. Dream11 is another brand that is listed as an Official Sponsor. The app has significant investments from Tencent Holdings, China. The IPL website also lists Paytm as an Umpire Sponsor. Paytm has over the years amassed large sums in investments from Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba Group affiliate based in Hangzhou, China.
Everyone from leading Bollywood stars to large Indian business conglomerates has pitched in with their support for the Boycott China movement by promising to not deal with China or Chinese entities. As a result, Oppo, recently discontinued its sponsorship of the Indian Cricket Team citing that the return on money was not sustainable. This could be construed as the brand cutting its losses in the middle of the sponsorship deal due to the increasing pressure on Chinese brands in India. This however is not all good news, because Oppo will now be replaced by Byju’s, which is another unicorn that has received large investments from Tencent.
If the Boycott China movement has to succeed, it has to become the responsibility of every Indian citizen and entity to cut its ties with China. BCCI’s continued reluctance in severing ties with Chinese brands and other companies with Chinese investments is a clear sign that it has prioritised money over its responsibility as the national governing body for cricket in India. It is clear that it doesn’t want to contribute as an Indian entity and IPL 2020 with Chinese sponsors will be for the lack of a better word ‘grossly disrespectful.’ This year’s edition will only remind every Indian citizen of the pain China has caused us. We surely believe that better sense will prevail and BCCI will revisit its controversial decision to retain Chinese sponsors. If not, then why even stop short of draping the IPL trophy with a Chinese flag?