Malik had played for Multan Sultans in their inaugural season. © Getty
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday confirmed that it has terminated Multan Sultans‘ franchise agreement with Schon Properties Broker LLC as the former owners failed to meet the financial obligations. The development comes just nine days ahead of the draft for the fourth edition of the PSL in Islamabad. Since the termination sees all the rights of the team going back to the PCB, the team selections during the draft will be done by the cricket board itself.
The formerly known Multan Sultans will now be referred as “The Sixth Team” – most notably during the draft – till a new owner takes control. The PCB will attract fresh bids for the team through a public tender process which will grant the eventual rights holder the option of choosing the sixth franchise city and its name.
The PCB has assured that the dissolution of the franchise will have no impact on the fourth edition of the PSL which begins from February 14 next year and have 34 matches.
Schon group, a Dubai-based company owned by a family with roots in Pakistan, bought the franchise for $5.2 million per annum, exactly the double of what the previously most expensive franchise Karachi Kings were purchased for by ARY group.
In August this year, Dubai Land Department (DLD) seized the properties, land plots, and funds registered to Schon Properties. DLD’s release dated August 2, 2018 stated that the action had been taken for “protecting the rights of investors in light of Schon Properties’ actions of exploiting investors by refraining from depositing their money in Escrow (guarantee) account”.
A particular project that has been under scrutiny is Dubai Lagoon in Dubai Investment Park which was slated to be completed in 2008 after its initiation three years ago. It is, however, yet to be finished. On August 9, 2018, arabianbusiness website reported that payments of $1.9 billion had been made as investments in the residential project by both residents of the UAE and individuals living abroad to Schon Properties.
“While this is an unfortunate turn of events, we have to ensure strict adherence to contractual obligations for the well-being of the PSL,” PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said. “We wish Schon Group well with their future endeavours.
“I want to reassure our partners – franchisees, sponsors, players, coaches and fans – that the PSL will take place as planned. Our preparations are in full swing starting with the PSL Draft in Islamabad. The 2019 edition of the PSL will be a memorable one with as many as eight matches including the playoffs and the final scheduled to take place in Pakistan.”
In its statement, the PCB said it “acknowledges that Schon Group is one of the leading groups of Pakistan”. It further said, “Schon Group has been a partner of PCB for many years in terms of Pakistan series sponsorship abroad for many years.
“The PCB appreciates that Schon Group was the only bidder to meet the Reserve Price ($5.2 million per annum) it had set for the sale of the Multan Franchise. This was double the amount for which PCB had in 2015 sold the most valuable PSL Franchise Team. Asher Schon in particular has worked hard in building the Multan Sultans brand.”
The former Multan Sultans’ owner, Asher Schon said, “It has been a privilege being a PSL team owner over the past year. I am proud of the support Schon has always extended to Pakistan cricket and current affairs notwithstanding, will continue to passionately support it”.
Multan Sultans made their debut in PSL 3 earlier this year and failed to go beyond the group stage. “The Sixth Team” as now it is to be called has star T20 players in Shoaib Malik, Kieron Pollard, Sohail Tanvir, Kumar Sangakkara, and Imran Tahir in its ranks. They have Wasim Akram on board as the team’s director and bowling coach.