BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Caribbean Premier League organisers say they are close to striking a deal with the Barbados government, for the support of the embattled franchise Barbados Tridents.
Chief executive, Damien O’Donohoe, told the Nation Newspaper here that Tridents had accumulated losses of US$4.5 million since the inception of the tournament in 2013, due largely to the fact no buyer could be found for the franchise.
He lamented the lack of major government support in the past but said recent talks with high level government officials, including Finance Minister Chris Sinckler and Tourism Minister, Richard Sealy, had been fruitful.
“We’ve had several meetings with Mr Sealy and Mr Sinckler and they’ve been hugely supportive of CPL. They could understand for the team to survive it required a lot of government support,” O’Donohoe said.
“We obviously put a lot of money in. On average, the Barbados team was US$1.3 million a year. Without their support, it wouldn’t be possible. We’re very close to finalising a deal with the government.
“We’re very excited about that and very much look forward to working with the government.”
Tridents have proven one of the more popular franchises in the CPL, attracting the likes of West Indies all-rounder and Indian Premier League star, Kieron Pollard, who has captained the side in the last three seasons.
But despite playing to capacity crowds at Kensington Oval and capturing the CPL title in 2014, organisers last year branded Tridents a “commercial disaster”, because of its inability to attract major government or private sector funding.
“In relation to Barbados Tridents we tried to sell the franchise in year one but because we didn’t get Government support to the level that we required, and because we weren’t selling a huge amount of sponsorship, we weren’t able to sell the team,” O’Donohoe explained.
“The team itself has accumulated losses of about US$4.5 million.”
In February, Indian millionaire businessman Vijay Mallya announced he had purchased Tridents, with support from the Barbados government.
Mallya subsequently attended the player draft also staged in February but has since been beset by financial and legal woes. He has been accused off defaulting on over US$1 billion in loans, following the collapse of his Kingfisher Airlines, and a consortium of banks have launched court action to recover the monies owed.
Mallya, who fled India and is reportedly now residing in the United Kingdom, has had his diplomatic passport cancelled and a warrant issued for his arrest.
Last Friday, it was reported that the Indian government had requested the UK deport Mallya.
The 2016 edition of the CPL runs from June 29 to August 7.