The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) faces eviction from its Wankhede Stadium home amid a financial dispute with the Maharashtra state government.
Located in south Mumbai, Wankhede Stadium is regarded as one of India’s leading cricket venues and the dispute comes as the two bodies hold talks over a new lease deal to replace an agreement that ended in February last year.
According to multiple reports, the state government has called on the MCA to pay Rs1.2bn (£13.3m/€15.3m/$17.2m) in fees relating to lease renewal, unpaid dues and alleged development at the venue that did not have the required permission, including a building that serves as the headquarters of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Mumbai City collector Shivaji Jondhale reportedly issued the notice on April 16, stating that if the MCA fails to attend a meeting on May 3 with the appropriate documentation then takeover proceedings will be initiated.
Jondhale told the Press Trust of India news agency: “MCA had applied for renewal of its lease when the issue of dues surfaced. Seeing their reputation, it is a petty amount for the association. There will not be any interim meeting or extension to the cricket body. The future course of action will be decided only after the meeting on May 3.”
The Wankhede was built in 1975 and currently has a capacity of around 33,000 following redevelopment for India’s staging of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, when it hosted the final of the national team tournament.
Jondhale told the Mumbai Mirror newspaper: “The MCA has written to the chief minister seeking lease renewal and we have replied saying the association must pay according to the market rate. We are also checking whether the BCCI headquarters on the premises had all permissions.”
Architect Shashi Prabhu, who designed the Wankhede Stadium, said there was “zero scope for any illegality” on the plot. He added: “Every permission was in place before the stadium was renovated ahead of the 2011 ICC World Cup, whose final was held in Mumbai. The BCCI headquarters are connected to cricket.”
Image: Anand Desai