Monday, 8 March 2010

Lalit Modi's Night of the Hunter

To lightly paraphrase the late Dr H.S. Thompson, 'The sports business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There is also a negative side'.

Lalit Modi probably doesn't know who Hunter Thompson was [although given the US college drug bust, maybe he does], but he understands the instinctive wisdom in the above quote. It informs the thinking behind his demand that bidders for the new IPL franchises have an individual worth $1bn in their midst.

'We put a high-end clause because we need to get solid companies,' he said. 'The business requires a long gestation period and that is the reason we want to secure ourselves'.

Anyone doubting the need for such a guarantee need only look [as Modi surely has] at football's English Premier League, which has one club in administration and wobbles like an Icelandic bank on a pile of magic beans; it's a long and shallow trench where clubs' assets can legally be used to secure the debt that bought them [The Glazers at Man Utd and Hicks and Gillette at Liverpool], where human rights abusers like Thaksin Shinawatra can pass the 'fit and proper persons test' for owners [Manchester City] and where clubs can change hands four times in a season [Portsmouth], each times to owners who haven't actually got any money. Your Russian oligarchs [Chelsea] might be be unpleasant, but at least they can pay the bills. 

The IPL has never pretended to be about anything other than money. When the cheques come in, Lalit needs people who can cough up. To employ another couple of Hunter's thoughts: 'In a world of thieves, the only sin is stupidity.' 

And then there's this: 'For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled'...

1 comment:

Shaitaan said...

Brilliant! As a Shark Hunt fan myself, a wonderful read, thank you.