The acting secretary of the BCCI, Amitabh Choudhary, has expressed his misgivings about the eligibility rule changes for domestic tournaments being enforced by the CoA-directed BCCI, midway through the season.
In a note sent to BCCI’s general manager (cricket operations) Saba Karim on Friday, Choudhary said, "The eligibility rules have been in existence for a very long time. You are also aware that these rules have always been vetted by the Technical Committee which has been headed by the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly.
"Obviously, therefore, these rules should have remained firm until the best cricketing brains had examined them. Besides, where was the compulsion to do it well after the season had begun, especially because on these rules depend the plans of participating associations. As far as my memory goes this is unprecedented.”
Furthermore, he said that the rules have been changed without the approval of either the Technical Committee or any of the member associations of the Board.
“I thought that at least post facto approval could have been obtained in the last ten days after we had exchanged emails. I am not sure whether this has been done. In my view, this so-called rule cannot be put into effect without requisite approvals.”
In a recent circular, Karim had informed the BCCI members that “wards of Government employees on transfer shall be eligible to play as a local player for the State /Association where the government employee has been transferred/posted subject to submission of the parent's transfer order and Aadhar card of the player bearing the new address.”
Karim explained that government employees have no control over “their transfer” and that the wards of such employees should not be subjected to the one year rule laid down by BCCI.
Before the start of the season, the BCCI had explained that in order to qualify as a local player, a cricketer should be working, studying, residing in the jurisdiction of that association for a year, from September 1 of the previous year.
Quite clearly, Choudhary, reflecting the thoughts of many other BCCI members, has asked Karim questions.
“Why should departure be made only for government servants? Are they a special class of Indian citizens? If so, I need to be educated for I had been one myself for as long as nearly three decades. According to the argument advanced, it seems only they cannot determine their postings as if others, working in companies and multinationals, decide their places and dates of postings.
"Clearly, the basis of such change is without any merit. Besides, while the new Constitution of the BCCI is indeed in place, the BCCI still continues to consist of its member associations. And I understand, none had concurred with this change before it was imposed.”
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