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WIPL 2023 – BCCI invites ‘reputable entities’ to bid for women’s IPL teams

The BCCI has filed applications for “right to own and work” teams at the inaugural IPL for women, expected to take place March 3-26.

A press statement from the BCCI on Tuesday asked “reputable entities” to make a non-refundable payment of INR 5 lakh (approximately USD 6,000) by January 21 to obtain the “invitation to tender” which details the eligibility criteria for potential buyers. However, the final decision on who may bid rests with the BCCI, following a technical evaluation process.

In February last year, then BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had said that the women’s IPL would be launched in 2023. In August, the BCCI targeted a window for March. Subsequently, the BCCI brought forward the women’s household calendar, which generally runs from November to April, to accommodate the women’s IPL.

The call for the start of the women’s IPL has been gaining momentum since India’s second-place finish at the 50-over World Cup in 2017. When they reached the final of the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020, things gained further momentum before Covid-19 19 stopped women’s cricket and the sport in general.

Since 2018, the BCCI ran the Women’s T20 Challenge to run alongside the IPL in an effort to test the waters before expanding. On a number of occasions, the previous government led by Ganguly had cited a lack of depth in players as an obstacle to holding a full-fledged tournament.

Since the formal announcement about starting the WIPL, a number of existing IPL teams have sent out talent scouts to identify players they could potentially sign into the women’s tournament if they are awarded the rights to own a franchise. Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings are all said to be interested in owning a WIPL team.

Last month, the BCCI had made bids for 2023-27 media rights to the proposed five-team tournament. According to media reports, as many as 10 entities have collected the media rights tender documents. All entities that pass BCCI’s screening process will be allowed to place their closed bids on January 12.

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