BCCI in no mood to comply with SC directive

In its Special General Meeting on Saturday, all BCCI members dissected the new constitution - prepared by the SC-appointed Justice R.M. Lodha Committee - and voted on each of the contentious clauses.

BCCI president Anurag Thakur stressed that the BCCI had not missed any deadline set by the Lodha Committee.   -  Getty Images

On a day that saw the BCCI members huddled together in a marathon six-hour Special General body Meeting (SGM) meeting, the BCCI without saying it in as many words has all but decided to defy the Supreme Court order on July 18, which directed it to implement the constitution prepared by the SC-appointed Justice R.M. Lodha Committee.

Saturday’s SGM, reconvened after being adjourned on technical grounds on Friday, saw all the BCCI members dissecting the new constitution – which was supposed to have been adopted by September 30 according to the timelines set by the Lodha Committee – and voting on each of the contentious clauses.

Interestingly, rather than deliberating on the reply to be filed to the Supreme Court on October 6 on the Lodha Committee’s status report submitted earlier in the week, the BCCI preferred to dissect the new constitution, which was supposed to have been adopted by Friday.

Late in the evening, BCCI president Anurag Thakur stressed that the BCCI “has not missed any deadline” set by the Lodha Committee, adding “some significant recommendations (of the Lodha Committee) were accepted by the BCCI”. A BCCI statement even listed nine such proposals that were either “accepted unanimously” or with “certain modifications”.

However, Sportstar understands that most of the major reforms directed by the apex court were rejected. The most prominent one being the “one state, one vote” clause. While the Court-directed constitution has listed all the states to be given a vote each, and reducing at least six of the existing full members to associate member status, the BCCI meeting rejected the proposal.

“The members felt none of the existing full members, including Cricket Club of India, National Cricket Club, Railways Sports Promotion Board and Services Sports Control Board should be demoted. And all the six members combined from the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat should continue to remain full members,” said a member who was part of the day-long deliberations.

The suggestion is in stark violation with the Supreme Court order, which was issued after months of deliberations from all parties involved.

The BCCI, on the other hand, stated it has agreed “in giving voting rights to the Associate members as per the ICC guidelines”. It means the full member votes and those put together of the associate and affiliate members are to be divided in the ratio of 3:1. It is in stark contrast with the rulebook prepared by the Lodha Committee.

The BCCI also stated that it has approved “formation of the Apex Council with certain modifications” and “formation of the Players Association and their representation on the (Cricket) Committee”.However, Sportstar understands that the SGM rejected the directive of including two player representatives – a male and a female – in the apex council.

Similarly, while the BCCI did not touch upon it in its statement, it is understood that the SGM flatly rejected the term, tenure and age cap restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court. According to multiple members who attended the meeting, while the nine-year tenure cap wasn't a problem, the cooling off period between two terms was declined by the members; the age cap of 70 years was also deemed “impractical to implement”.

The BCCI, however, approved the inclusion of a representative from the Comptroller and Auditor General on the apex council and the IPL governing council.

Vidarbha skips meeting

The Vidarbha Cricket Association, which accepted the new constitution directed by the Lodha Committee in totality on Friday, preferred to remain absent for the meeting. While Thakur said VCA “requested leave of absence which was granted”, a VCA insider confirmed that it didn’t feel proper to attend the meeting after adopting all the reforms just a day earlier.

Bhupendrasingh Bhatti, the VCA representative who had arrived in Mumbai on Friday, apparently had to head back to Nagpur due to a family emergency. And the VCA did not deem it fit to depute anyone else on Saturday.

Tripura falls in line, Assam up next

Besides Vidarbha, even the Tripura Cricket Association (TCA), one of only two north-east associations who are full members of the BCCI, has adopted the Lodha Committee reforms. The Association has informed the Lodha Committee of its decision on September 29, a day before the deadline set for the BCCI and all state associations to amend its rulebook.

It is understood that the TCA representative faced the wrath of a few BCCI officials for having accepted the reforms. The other North-Eastern full member, Assam, is on the verge of joining the list. The Assam Cricket Association is understood to have informed the BCCI that its legal committee has advised them that it has no option but to implement the order.