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BCCI to contest Lodha report in Supreme Court

BCCI has decided to take on board some suggestions of the Lodha Committee; decision came after a special general meeting in Mumbai

New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday said it will contest the recommendations of the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee in the Supreme Court. The decision came after a special general meeting (SGM) in Mumbai, which was convened to discuss the report released in January.

The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee came up with a comprehensive set of recommendations in January after looking into the organizational structure and functioning of the BCCI. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court directed the cricket board to file a reply by 3 March letting it know whether it intended to implement the recommendations of the committee.

The BCCI on Friday confirmed that its secretary will file the affidavit in the Supreme Court on its behalf, “pointing out the anomalies and difficulties encountered in implementation of the Lodha Committee’s recommendations". An official, who declined to be identified, added that state associations, who were directly affected by the committee’s recommendations, could file separate affidavits in the apex court if they chose to do so.

Soon after the report was released, BCCI asked its member associations to study and discuss its implications by convening a meeting of their managing committee. The Lodha Committee’s report has not gone down well with state associations. For a start, associations like Mumbai and Delhi have shot down its recommendations in entirety, while others such as the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) have partially rejected the report. Others, such as the Jyotiraditya Scindia-led Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) decided to follow BCCI’s decisions on the report.

State associations have been rattled by some of the committee’s recommendations, including the one-state, one-vote policy, which affects six units in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Other areas of concern for administrators include term-limits for BCCI office-bearers, a prescribed age limit of 70 years and a bar on ministers and government officials becoming BCCI office-bearers.

However, BCCI has decided to take on board some suggestions of the Lodha Committee. On Friday, Anurag Thakur, BCCI secretary, confirmed that it will appoint an agency to search for candidates for the posts of chief executive officer and chief financial officer.

Chhattisgarh in Ranji Trophy

The BCCI also decided to upgrade the Chhattisgarh State Cricket Sangh (CSCS) from an associate member to a full member, thus making the state eligible to compete in senior domestic tournaments like the Ranji Trophy.

Chhattisgarh would become the sixth member from the central zone, joining Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Railways. Soon after its inclusion as a full-member, CSCS president Baldeosingh Bhatia said, “I want to thank the BCCI for giving Chhattisgarh full-membership status." The CSCS, which was founded in 2000, was an associate member of BCCI, eligible to field teams in age-group level tournaments. It also boasts of an Indian Premier League (IPL) venue, the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Naya Raipur, where Delhi Daredevils played two of their home games in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions. It also hosted eight matches of the now-defunct Champions League T20 tournament in 2014, also its final edition.

BCCI on board for ICC’s restructuring

In a significant decision, BCCI also decided to give up a share of its revenue from the International Cricket Council (ICC), but not without opposition from some of its members. The release said, “The members authorized the President and Hony. Secretary to discuss the governance and financial restructuring of the ICC subject to such restructuring being incorporated in the constitution of the ICC for permanency." The move comes after BCCI president and ICC chairman Shashank Manohar agreed to revisit the restructuring changes brought about by his predecessor N. Srinivasan in 2014.

These proposals are also commonly known as the ‘Big Three’, where India, Australia and England (cricket’s big three), would wield more influence on the game, and in return get the lion’s share of the ICC’s revenue over an eight-year cycle starting 2015. Under the new proposal, India was to get a 22% share of the gross revenue over the next six to eight years.

However, soon after he took over as ICC chairman in November last year, Manohar was keen to put an end to the Big Three, something he referred to as “three major nations bullying the ICC". He added in an interview to The Hindu, “I don’t agree with the revenue-sharing formula because it’s nice to say that India will get 22% of the total revenue of the ICC, but you cannot make the poor poorer and the rich richer, only because you have the clout."

Earlier this month, after ICC’s annual board meeting in Dubai, Manohar categorically stated, “No member of the ICC is bigger than the other and I am determined to make a contribution in this regard with the support of all the members."

Friday’s decision means that BCCI will give up a percentage of India’s revenue (6%) back to the ICC. The official quoted above said, “If needed, we will reduce our share from the ICC revenue to help the development of other countries."

This would also mean that the Future Tours Programme for the period between 2016 and 2023 will be reworked to “ensure equitable distribution of the matches", the release said.

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