New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council chairman, Brijesh Patel, on Thursday announced that Chinese firm, VIVO, is back as the title sponsor for IPL 2021, scheduled to take place in April-May. 

Patel's announcement came during his inaugural address for the IPL 2021 Auctions in Chennai. "Vivo is back, this edition to be announced as VIVO IPL 2021, welcome back Vivo," said Brijesh Patel.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Vivo announced last year that the Chinese smartphone maker would not be the title sponsor for the IPL 2020, amid backlash due to the Indo-China standoff after Galwan Valley clash between the Indian Army and the PLA, in which around 20 Indian soldiers were martyred.

VIVO and BCCI had a contract of 5 years which was signed in 2018 for a whopping Rs 2,199 crore. The contract was scheduled to end in 2022, however, during the IPL 2020, the contract was handed over to Dream11. VIVO has so far paid BCCI 363 crores in 2018 and 400 crores in 2019.  

As per the contract signed between VIVO and BCCI, the Chinese phone manufacturer cannot 'exit' but 'assign' their rights to a company willing to pay the cricket Board the full amount agreed upon.

Meanwhile, the IPL chairman also confirmed that IPL 2021 will most likely see fans return to the stadium. "Cannot wait to have fans back in attendance, most likely they will be in attendance for this year's IPL, we held one season behind closed doors," said Brijesh. 

The IPL "mini-auction" this year is witnessing 291 players going under the hammer as England pacer Mark Wood withdrew from the auction at the end moment. All these cricketers have been shortlisted by the eight franchises. A total of 164 Indian players, 125 overseas players, and 3 players from associate nations are up for grabs in the mini-auction. 

Rs 2 crore is the highest reserve price and two Indian players - Harbhajan Singh and Kedar Jadhav - and eight overseas players - Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Shakib Al Hasan, Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy, and Mark Wood chose to be slotted in the highest bracket. 

12 players are on the auction list with a base price of Rs 1.5 crore. Hanuma Vihari and Umesh Yadav are the two Indian players in the list of 11 cricketers with a base price of Rs 1 crore.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan