Former India captain and current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly said there was no “conflict of interest” in a tweet he made about fantasy cricket brand My11Circle during his country’s T20 international against Bangladesh.
Before the third T20 between the two sides in Nagpur on Sunday, he tweeted his support for My11Circle – a rival fantasy sports app to Dream11 – by asking his followers to participate and beat the team he had picked as a combination of the two squads.
Dream11 is a brand backed by Chinese gaming giant and WeChat maker Tencent which occupies an estimated 90 per cent of the market in India, according to a report by KPMG and the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG).
It signed a four-year contract with BCCI as the official partner for the Indian Premier League (IPL) in March of this year. The deal also dictates that the ‘Official Fantasy Game’ of IPL is powered by Dream11, while there are various brand integrations and on-ground activations during the tournament’s matches.
Just a few weeks after taking control of the BCCI, Ganguly tweeted: “The #INDvsBAN series is on fire! The excitement continues in the 3rd match with series levelled. Will #TeamIndia keep up the winning streak or will Bangladesh bounce back? Beat my team on @My11Cirlce & Win Big. Make Your Team Now!”
It caused questions about conflict of interest for Ganguly, both because of his role with the BCCI and over possible inside information he might hold about the India team through regular access to captain Virat Kohli (pictured) and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad.
However, he has since responded – according to a report in the Indian Express – by saying: “I don’t think there is any conflict in it, it’s my personal thing. Had I tweeted about Dream11, it would have come under conflict of interest. I don’t see any conflict in that tweet.”
It’s not the first time Ganguly has been embroiled in such controversy. Earlier this year – after talks with the BCCI’s Ethics Officer – he was forced to leave his role as mentor to IPL franchise Delhi Capitals for potential conflict of interest with his role as chief of the Cricket Association of Bengal.