Team India recently got the online fantasy gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) as their kit sponsor. However, new revelations have unveiled that the skipper Virat Kohli had originally made investments in MPL all the way back in February 2019, which has raised several queries.
Virat Kohli was announced as MPL’s brand ambassador in last year January, ten months before BCCI revealed the same company as the official merchandise partner and kit sponsor for the Men in Blue.
As part of the deal, the senior men and women teams of India, as well as the under-19 teams will don the MPL shirts for three years. The gaming platform’s arm MPL Sports is also backed by the team and currently holds rights to sell licensed jerseys and merchandise.
Interestingly, a recent report made by The Indian Express, which cites access to past records dating back to 2019, have suggested that Kohli was allotted Compulsory Convertible Debentures (CCDs) for Rs 33.32 lakh in Galactus Funware Technology Private Limited, the owner of MPL.
According to the records, on 5th February 2019 in a general meeting, Galactus Funware issued Kohli a total of 68 CCDs with a face value of Rs 10, each issued at a Rs 48,990 premium. Additionally, 34 CCDs worth Rs 16.66 lakh were also issued to Cornerstone Sport LLP, who’s CEO Amit Arun Sajdeh is the Indian captain’s partner in Magpie Venture Partners LLP and Virat Kohli Sports LLP.
“I have said this time and again, Virat and Cornerstone are free to invest in as many businesses as they wish to,” Sajdeh stated when he was approached regarding Kohli’s past link with MPL, “There is no conflict whatsoever as long as Virat is not invested in Cornerstone.”
Meanwhile, sources within BCCI deny any knowledge of such investment made by Kohli and Cornerstone to MPL, while claiming such connections to be a bad image for the Indian cricket scene.
“We cannot be expected to track investments of players,” a top BCCI official was quoted by The Indian Express, while another member of the governing body asserted: “He (Kohli) is an influential figure in Indian cricket and such inter-connections aren’t ideal for good governance.”