Supreme Court bars BCCI from releasing funds to state associations
Supreme Court also directed BCCI president to file a personal affidavit on his communication with ICC about the Lodha panel’s recommendations
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday barred the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from disbursing funds to state cricket associations until they implement reforms suggested by a court-appointed panel.
The ruling came a day after the board, India’s richest sporting body, told the court that state associations had failed to put in place reforms proposed by the panel headed by former chief justice of India R.M. Lodha.
“No funds to be disbursed by BCCI unless a resolution accompanied by an affidavit which is approved by the Lodha committee is passed by state associations,” said Chief Justice of India T.S Thakur, who is presiding over a bench hearing the case.
The bench said the Rs16.72 crore each that has been disbursed to 13 state associations could not be used by them unless they were willing to comply with the Lodha committee recommendations.
Key recommendations of the Lodha panel include a “one state, one vote” formula that would restrict states with multiple cricket associations, such as Gujarat and Maharashtra, to one vote. The panel recommended a ban on civil servants and ministers serving on BCCI and state associations and an age limit of 70 for office-bearers. In July, the court gave BCCI six months to implement the changes, some of which the board has resisted.
On Thursday, the apex court gave BCCI a day’s time to accept the sweeping changes suggested by the court-appointed panel to clean up administration of India’s most popular sport. The court warned that it would pass an order freezing BCCI’s funds and seek the remittance of money it had disbursed to state associations if the board did not heed the order.
The Supreme Court on Friday described as “defiant and obstructionist” the attitude of BCCI, its president Anurag Thakur and general manager (cricket operation) Ratnakar Shetty for “undermining” the Lodha committee’s directions.
The court warned BCCI against “precipitating” the issue. It directed Anurag Thakur to explain by filing a personal affidavit “whether he had asked the CEO of the ICC (International Cricket Council) to state that the appointment of the Lodha committee was tantamount to government interference in the working of the BCCI”.
Shetty, a long-standing cricket administrator, was told to place on record a copy of the authorization/resolution passed by BCCI on the basis of which he had filed the affidavit supporting the response of BCCI to a status report filed by the Lodha committee on implementation of reforms by BCCI.