Virat Kohli’s personal investment in Mobile Premier League (MPL) has raised the issue of conflict of interest on part of the Indian skipper. MPL had bagged the lucrative kit sponsorship deal of the Indian cricket team in November.
Kohli was allotted Compulsory Convertible Debentures (CCDs) for INR 33.32 lakhs in Bengaluru-based company Galactus Funware Technology Private Limited. This firm also owns the online gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL). Galactus is a subsidiary of M-League Pte Ltd, a company registered in Singapore in April 2018.
This issue arises due to BCCI’s sponsorship deal with MPL that gives them access to make kits and merchandise for the Indian cricket teams including senior Indian men, women and under-19 teams. The Indian Men’s team is already been sporting the MPL Sports logo during the ongoing Australian tour. Kohli himself is the brand ambassador of MPL since January 2020 and has endorsed the gaming platform on numerous occasions.
According to a report by The India Express, when Kohli was issued the CCDs, Galactus also issued 34 CCDs worth Rs 16.66 lakh to Cornerstone Sport LLP. Amit Arun Sajdeh, CEO of Cornerstone Sport LLP, is also Kohli’s partner in Magpie Venture Partners LLP and Virat Kohli Sports LLP.
Regarding this conflict of interest, Sajdeh said there was nothing wrong with the MPL connection. He said, “I have said this time and again, Virat and Cornerstone are free to invest in as many businesses as they wish to. There is no conflict whatsoever as long as Virat is not invested in Cornerstone.”
This issue may not bode well with BCCI since the Indian board’s constitution says, “When an individual enters into endorsement contracts or other professional engagements with third parties, the discharge of which would compromise the individual’s primacy obligation to the game or allow for the perception that the purity of the game stands compromised.”