BCCI, Supreme Court face-off set for final showdown

With neither BCCI nor SC ready to blink, the apex court will take stock of the situation on Thursday


Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

New Delhi: The stand-off between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Supreme Court is now set for a final showdown. It is still uncertain if India’s richest sports body will yield to the court mandated clean up.

On Monday, the court-appointed justice Lodha Committee wrote to banks asking them to disallow BCCI from accessing its bank accounts. In response, BCCI has reportedly decided to call off the ongoing India-New Zealand series.

This comes a week after the Lodha panel moved the top court seeking that the office-bearers of BCCI, including president Anurag Thakur, secretary Ajay Shirke, must be superseded immediately by a panel of administrators to ensure the smooth transition from the old to the new system recommended by it.

Lodha panel was also miffed by BCCI’s appointment of a four member committee headed by former apex court judge Markandey Katju to deliberate with the Lodha committee on some key reforms that BCCI is opposed to.

Clearly, it seems neither side is ready to blink. The apex court will take stock of the situation on Thursday and the court has repeatedly said that BCCI has no choice but to follow its orders.

Mint takes a look at the key reforms, and BCCI’s stand on them.

One state-One vote

Lodha panel: BCCI has announced its domestic tournament calendar for 2016-17 without including north eastern states, Bihar and Union territories which do not have a full time-membership. This decision is contrary to the ‘one state-one vote’ formula recommended by the Lodha committee in its report.

Separately, the Mumbai Cricket Association is challenging this recommendation before the Bombay High Court.

BCCI: In its latest special general meeting held on 1 October, the BCCI did not accept the ‘one state-one vote’ formula recommended by the Lodha committee, citing “legal and practical difficulties”.

One state-one vote, simply means, that states with more than one cricket association, as in the case of Gujarat (Saurashtra, Gujarat and Baroda) and Maharashtra (Mumbai, Maharashtra and Vidarbha), will have voting rights on a “rotational basis”—one at a time.

In its ruling, the SC said that while Gujarat and Maharashtra can continue to have three associations, only one of them can vote at a time.

Media and ground rights

Lodha panel: BCCI awarding ground rights without proper tenders.

The panel also claimed that media rights to Florida T-20s are awarded to Star and that Sony did not bid but there are no details of bids and processes.

BCCI: The cricket board’s decision to invite bids for the popular T20 tournament Indian Premier League’s media rights has gone against the directive issued by the Lodha panel. On 18 September, the BCCI announced an open tender process to award media rights for Indian Premier League (IPL) matches for 2018 and beyond.

Also Read: Lodha committee tells banks to halt BCCI disbursements

Ban on serving civil servants and ministers from being on BCCI’s board

This could affect the likes of Himanta Biswa Sarma, the newly-elected Assam Cricket Association chief, or even the Tripura Cricket Association, which has traditionally seen the state’s bureaucrats in charge.

BCCI’s stand: The BCCI has not accepted this recommendation in its latest special general meetong held in Mumbai on 1 October.

Age cap for BCCI office-bearers

The Lodha panel stipulated that office-bearers of BCCI must not be over 70 years of age. This would also apply to state associations, ruling out several current members.

Prominent among those are MCA president Sharad Pawar, N. Srinivasan, who heads the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) and Saurashtra Cricket Association’s Shah.

BCCI: The board in its latest meeting on 1 October has not accepted the 70 year age cap for office bearers of the BCCI .

CAG nominee in BCCI Board

Lodha panel had called for a nominee from the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) be made a part of BCCI’s managing committee. BCCI opposed the move in court, saying that the presence of a CAG nominee could be seen as “government interference”, which in turn could be grounds for the International Cricket Council to suspend India’s membership.

BCCI: The country’s most powerful sports body on 1 October accepted the induction of the representative of Comptroller and Auditor General as the member of its Apex Council as well as the IPL Governing Council.

Players’ association

India is one of the few countries without a registered and active players’ association. Lodha panel had recommended formation of an association that would be funded by BCCI.

BCCI: The cricket board has accepted the same. “Formation of the Players Association and their representation on the Committee. The Special General Meeting authorized the CEO (Rahul Johri) to contact the steering committee as proposed by the Hon’ble Justice Lodha Committee and commence the formation of the cricket players association,” the BCCI said in a statement.

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