Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Post-SC verdict, all TV rights of BCCI to be monitored

One of the 15 primary points of the Lodha committee that the BCCI will have to adhere to is awarding of TV broadcast contracts

New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed justice R.M. Lodha panel on Tuesday asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to follow “total transparency" with regards to awarding lucrative television rights deals in the wake of the apex court’s verdict on the panel’s recommendations for reforms in the board.

What has drawn the committee’s attention is the awarding of media broadcast rights awarded by BCCI to broadcast the two T20 Internationals between India and West Indies in Florida on 27-28 August, which was announced on Monday by the board, according to people close to the panel.

Among the 15 primary points that the BCCI will have to adhere to by 15 October is awarding of TV broadcast contracts.

People close to the panel who are aware about legal implications pointed out that even if BCCI files a review petition they will have to abide by the Supreme Court’s verdict on the panel’s recommendations relating to principles of transparency that are needed to be followed in order to award broadcast rights, unless they get a stay order.

“Post 18 July Supreme Court verdict which upholds the Lodha panel reforms, there should be complete transparency with regards to the principles of awarding contracts. It should be observed right away in detail. All the details about pre-qualification norms and eligibility criteria should be transparently put up on the BCCI website," a person with direct knowledge of the matter told PTI on Tuesday.

On Monday, the BCCI announced that it has signed a deal with Star India Pvt. Ltd worth 34.2 crore for telecast of the two-game series in the US. The BCCI reportedly is also set to sign a multi-billion dollar TV contract for the cash-rich IPL (Indian Premier League) once it becomes due but it may come under the scanner if the Supreme Court verdict upholding the panel recommendations are not followed in toto, as per indications.

When asked if in the current situation the T20 matches to be played in the US could be broadcast by Star India, the person quoted above said, “I am not saying that they can’t, but one needs to thoroughly check whether all principles of transparency had been followed."

The wordings of the advertisement on the BCCI’s website inviting tenders for broadcasting the hastily arranged two-game series is believed to have attracted the attention of the panel.

The advertisement on reads: “The BCCI team will share the ITT document with the interested parties via email based upon the requests and eligibility. The last date for any such request expressing interest is on or before 05:00 PM IST on 04th August 2016."

“How do I know what is the eligibility to acquire the broadcast rights? The interested party cannot decide what is the eligibility and for that BCCI needs to clearly state what is the eligibility," the person said.

The announcement of the rights being awarded a day before the scheduled meeting of the top BCCI officials with the panel on Tuesday has surprised a few within the board too, it was learnt.

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke met the panel members while president Anurag Thakur, a member of Parliament, asked for “leave of absence" because Parliament is in session.