After six long months of debate and meetings, the Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council finally passed its decree on the issues of player retention and the schedule for the subsequent seasons that could make many franchises unhappy.

The council allowed teams to retain up to four players – three Indians and one foreigner – while the rest of the players will go under the hammer in the second week of November. What this means is that Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will be able to retain Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, a contention they had expressed as they didn’t want to let go their most valued players.

The council’s decision, however, goes against an unofficial plea made by the other franchise owners who had asked for a fresh auction involving all the players. It will particularly make the task difficult for the two new franchises, Pune and Kocki, who are yet to firm up their players and are eyeing leader icons.

The IPL governing council also said the forthcoming three seasons will have 70 league matches and 4 play off matches. Each team will, thus, have the same number of matches (14 of which 7 are home and 7 are away) as in the previous IPL editions. There will be one league table with teams divided into two groups of five teams each.

The player’s cap has been lifted to $9 million, up from $7 millon. The franchise and the players must mutually agree to be retained. Irrespective of the actual player fee to be paid to the player, the salary cap for the franchise shall be charged:

$1.8 million per year for the first Player so retained
$1.3 milion per year for the second Player so retained
$0.9 million per year for the third Player so retained
$0.5 million per year for the fourth Player so retained.

Thus if a franchise retains and signs four players, its salary cap will be charged by $4.5 million in each of 2011 and 2012 and it will have only $4.5 million remaining to pay as Player Fees for the remainder of its registered squad.

In advance of the 2011 player auction, the two new franchises who did not participate in the 2010 season may also sign up players. The rules are the same. Up to and including four players per Franchise may be signed from the list of players who were not a part of the squad of any of the teams in the past three IPL editions. However the list of players who are available for such franchise will be provided by IPL based on the registered list of players.

All player contracts will now be managed by BCCI and signed by the Indian cricket board along with the franchises and the players. A new player registration and contract management process will be detailed soon. No player contracts can be signed until then. Player regulation for 2011 season will be circulated soon to all franchisees which will detail the player contract, registration and signing process.

All players who will form a part of the squad will be under the salary cap. * Uncapped Indian players will be with fixed salary as below...
* Rs 1 million per annum if the Player has not played or first played Ranji Trophy (First class or List A) in the 2009/10 or 2010/11 seasons.
* Rs 2 million per annum if the Player first played Ranji Trophy (First class or List A) in the 2006/7, 2007/8 or 2008/9 seasons.
* Rs 3 million per annum if the Player first played Ranji Trophy (First class or List A) in the 2005/6 or earlier seasons.
* Squad size to be capped at 30 members
* Players who will be featured in the auction will be all capped players + any IPL player who has played more than 75 per cent of matches for his team in 2010 season.

All franchises will have the same number of matches at home as in the previous editions. The timelines for this will be finalised soon. Play off matches: A revised structure for play offs as below will be followed for future seasons. The format will reward consistency of performance in the league stages
Play-off game A : 1st vs 2nd
Play-off game B : 3rd vs 4th
Play-off game C : winner of game B vs loser of game A
Finals game D : winner of game A vs winner of game C

Catchment Area revision: Following the addition of the two new franchises, the catchments areas have been revised as below. Catchment areas will now be aligned according to the associations instead of states. Mumbai Indians : Mumbai CA, Baroda CA
Royal Challengers Bangalore : KSCA, Goa CA
Deccan Chargers : HCA, Andhra C A, Orissa CA
Chennai SuperKings : TNCA, Railways
Delhi Daredevils : DDCA, UPCA, Uttarakhand
Kings XI Punjab : PCA, Haryana CA, HPCA, J&K CA
Kolkata Knight Riders : CAB, Jharkhand CA, Assam CA, Tripura CA, Sikkim, Manipur
Rajasthan Royals : Rajasthan CA, Gujarat CA, Saurashtra CA
Team Pune : Maharashtra CA, Vidarbha CA
Team Kochi : Kerala CA, Services & MP CA


As many as 350 top cricketers from India and abroad would go under the auctioneer's hammer in Bangalore on January 8 and 9 with the 10 IPL franchises bidding for their services for the fourth season of the lucrative Twenty20 League.

Barring a dozen players, including Indian superstars Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag, who have been retained by five franchises in advance of the auction as per the IPL player regulations, most of the world's top players would be up for grabs.

The list of players has 11 out of 12 century makers in the previous three IPL seasons, including the Twenty20 league's fastest century maker Yusuf Pathan and 2010 ICC ODI Player of the Year, A B de Villers (South Africa), Cricket Board Secretary N Srinivasan said on Wednesday.

Former India skippers Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid, too, would be available for pickings by the various franchises.

Other established IPL performers available at the auction include current Indian team members Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Yuvraj Singh, as well as 2009 IPL's most successful bowler (38 wickets) RP Singh.

"The DLF IPL auction is indeed a very exciting prospect. I am confident that IPL fans throughout India and across the world will be paying very close attention to which of the world's best cricketers will be wearing their teams colours for the next IPL season," said IPL Chairman Chirayu Amin.