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Ban over, top IPL teams back into fray
India News

Ban over, top IPL teams back into fray

Two popular Indian Premier League teams will be back in action next year after serving a two-year ban over a scandal that involved illegal betting on matches, the cricket board said Friday.

A Supreme Court appointed panel had barred Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from the Twenty20 competition in 2015, saying such a punishment was needed to protect the integrity of the game.

Royals' co-owner Raj Kundra, husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, and Gurunath Meiyappan, of the Chennai franchise, were banned for life from cricket-related activities.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday welcomed the teams back into the fold, saying the tournament will be "enriched" by their return.

"Both the teams have enjoyed tremendous on-field success and have a mass following," acting BCCI president C. K. Khanna said in a news release.

"The loyal fans will again get to see their favourite teams and stars in action from the upcoming season of the VIVO IPL."

The Chennai franchise, led by former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are the most successful team in the IPL, having won the tournament in 2010 and 2011. They finished runners-up in 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural event in 2008 under the captaincy of Australian spin legend Shane Warne, but have failed to make the final since then.

The IPL, which is broadcast around the world, is hugely popular in India with its mix of sport and showbiz, with a number of teams fronted by big Bollywood names.

But it has been continuously dogged by corruption allegations.

The 2013 season saw police launch legal proceedings against several officials and three Rajasthan Royals players, including former Test fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, for illegal betting and spot-fixing.

Criminal charges were later dropped but the players were banned for breaching the BCCI's code of conduct.