Indian Cricket Board Tells Women's Premier League Teams to Shun Crypto Links

The BCCI told the teams that a breach could lead to punitive measures.

AccessTimeIconFeb 15, 2023 at 3:36 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 15, 2023 at 3:57 p.m. UTC

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) warned the five franchises of the newly formed Women's Premier League (WPL) to avoid associations with cryptocurrency and blockchain-related entities, according to a BCCI official, who said the organization will not offer any further comment.

The first season of the women's version of the multibillion-dollar Indian Premier League men's tournament will be held March 4-26.

CoinDesk spoke to representatives of three franchises; all declined to comment.

The news was reported earlier by CricBuzz, which cited a 68-page document called a "Commercial Workbook" that the board shared with the franchises.

According to CricBuzz, the workbook says: "No Franchisee shall undertake a partnership or any kind of association with an entity that is in any way connected/related to an entity that is involved/operates, directly or indirectly, in the cryptocurrency sector."

The previous edition of the Indian Premier League, one of the nation's most-watched sporting events, saw some of India's biggest film stars, including Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh and Salman Khan appear in crypto-related promotions or advertisements.

Since then, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cited concerns about misleading the "youth through over-promising and non-transparent advertising."

Early in 2022, India cracked down on crypto with stiff taxes on crypto and guidelines on crypto advertisements. The country is now waiting for consensus on crypto regulation to emerge in the world's biggest economies at Group of 20 (G-20) meetings. India is president of the G-20 this year.

The Indian sports' stance follows last year's partnership between the International Cricket Council (ICC), which governs cricket worldwide, and the now-defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange, as an official cryptocurrency exchange partner for ICC events. FTX logos were visible throughout the ICC's T20 Cricket World Cup, one of the most watched sporting events globally, but were dropped for the tournament's final as the exchange collapsed.

The BCCI warning says that a breach could lead to punitive measures and instructed teams to submit copies of all commercial agreements 10 days before the start of the WPL season, according to CricBuzz. The BCCI also warned against any links to entities involved in gambling and the tobacco sector.


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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is a CoinDesk reporter.