Recently, he played a vital role in helping BCCI negotiate with Sahara India Parivar when the latter threatened to pull out as Team India’s sponsor and as owners of IPL’s Team Pune. Khan’s involvement in settling the dispute amicably was acknowledged by both the BCCI and Sahara owner Subrata Roy.
In such a scenario, it is unclear if the MCA’s decision to ban Khan from Wankhede despite BCCI’s apparent discomfort is practicable. The BCCI’s discomfort was clear on Friday when its vice-president Rajeev Shukla, who is also the IPL governing council chairman and a friend of Khan, said: “The MCA is well within its rights to ban Shah Rukh, but BCCI will take the final decision on the matter.”
A senior BCCI official who is bound to play a role when BCCI takes a final call on the MCA ban said that Khan’s role in IPL has to be “considered when a decision like that is taken. If he has committed a mistake in abusing individuals, he may be ready to sit across the table and sort things out. But you can’t just ban him because he came to the stadium in an inebriated state.”
Then, there is also the matter of the commercial impact. If the conflict grows further, Khan’s personal sponsors may threaten to pull out of IPL. Also, importantly, the 300-odd seats in Wankhede that are allotted to the visiting team during every match may remain empty every time Kolkata tours Mumbai.
The political ramifications of the ban are also significant. The West Bengal government, which has spoken in the actor’s support after the Wednesday night fracas, may further throw its weight behind the state’s brand ambassador and make the Wankhede ban a political whirlpool.