New Delhi: Sports Minister M.S. Gill has accused the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of having a conflict of interest as national administrators of the sport and backers of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), which he says is damaging the game.
In an extraordinary criticism, Gill told ‘CNN-IBN’ that cricket had become “an instrument of business”, and changes introduced to make the IPL’s Twenty20 format more popular for television audiences were bad for the game, ‘PTI’ reported on Sunday.
IPL has increased from eight teams to 10 this season and attracts many of the leading players from around the world, who earn high salaries based on what the teams are prepared to pay for them at auction. It has also sparked interest around the world in Twenty20 (T20) cricket, which can be over in three hours and features often risky shot-making by batsmen.
Objectivity conflict: Sports minister M.S. Gill says those who make the rules for cricket should not be involved in IPL in any manner. PIB
But Gill said IPL stakeholders should not be allowed to hold top positions in BCCI.
“Those who control the game, that is BCCI, they have a direct interest as owners of teams, as people who have a direct benefit from it, and this is something very dangerous,” Gill was quoted as saying. “Major office bearers are on both sides.”
“Those who are to make rules for everyone, for all aspects of the game and keeping in view the interest of the game and the country and the long term, have to be totally apart from being involved in IPL in any way,” he said.
Gill said as well as impacting the longer, more traditional formats, the money offered in IPL was threatening player loyalty to their countries. Some older players already have retired from international cricket to play in IPL.
Gill said the cricket season had been altered to accommodate IPL, the playing field had been reduced in size—making it easier for batsmen to hit boundaries—controversial new bats had been permitted and the bowler was “the victim” in the game.
IPL’s “focus is earning money. Now two new teams have been bought and one of the gentlemen who has bought...said ‘look this is business, we bought it for business and our job is to earn from it. Cricket is an instrument of business’.”
He also said IPL should be forced to pay for the police deployed to ensure security at matches in April and May because it was leaving cities “unguarded or less guarded”.