BCCI’s full members not ready for radical change

The BCCI has convened a meeting of its full members to deliberate over the Supreme Court’s interim order of October 6 pertaining to the reforms in cricket, recommended by the Justice R. M. Lodha Committee.

The BCCI president, Anurag Thakur, with the Board secretary, Ajay Shirke. The BCCI chief's line of thinking, vis-a-vis the Lodha Committee recommendations, has rarely been opposed by his full member colleagues.   -  Vivek Bendre

The full members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will meet in New Delhi on Saturday to analyse and consider the Supreme Court’s interim order of October 6 pertaining to the reforms in cricket, recommended by the Justice R. M. Lodha Committee. The meeting, convened by the BCCI, is only for its full members, and hence it is not a special general meeting (SGM).

On July 18, the Supreme Court had endorsed virtually all of the Lodha Committee recommendations. And in its order, the apex court had specified the restrictions it imposed on the BCCI, particularly with regard to taking decisions for fiscal 2016-17 and disbursement of funds.

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The Supreme Court also empowered the Lodha Committee to set timelines for the BCCI and the full members to follow so that the proposed governance and management structure of the Board could be installed by December 15. The pivotal aspect to the recommendations, merged in the order of July 18, was that the BCCI should adopt the rewritten Memorandum of Association and the Rules and Regulations.

The apex court gave the order after hearing the difficulties raised by the BCCI and its full members. However, as of Friday (Oct. 14) only the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) and the Tripura Cricket Association (TCA) have adopted the Lodha Committee recommendations in full. The TCA agreed to go with the recommendations on September 29 and the VCA on September 30, the first deadline for the BCCI to adopt the rewritten MOA and the Rules and Regulations.

The TCA’s representative will attend the meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. “We have filed an affidavit with the Lodha Committee and also the Supreme Court,’’ said Kamal Saha, the president of the TCA. The VCA, having given a thumping verdict in favour of the reforms in cricket, may skip the meeting.

“We have not filed an affidavit before the Lodha Committee or the Supreme Court. We will take a call tomorrow,’’ said Prakash Dixit, the president of the VCA.

The Supreme Court, in its interim order of October 6, had placed the responsibility on the president of a full member to file an affidavit stating that the association he leads is “agreeable to abide by the reforms as proposed by the Lodha Committee and accepted and modified by the court,’’ and also file a copy of the resolution with the Court. The Supreme Court also said that only by doing so the full members, who have not claimed the balance amount (Rs. 16. 73 crore) of the Champions League T20 compensation, will become eligible to receive the payment from the BCCI.

In the case of the full members, who have received the full sum of Rs. 28. 73 crore, the Supreme Court said it cannot deploy the second instalment of Rs. 16.73 crore for any expenditure until the association’s president files an affidavit with the Lodha Committee and the Court.

The BCCI lawyer Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court bench — Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur, Justice A. M. Khanwilkar and Justice D. Y. Chandrachud — that the BCCI has not been in a position to adopt the MOA and Rules and Regulations because of “the reluctance of the State associations in subscribing to the same.’’

While the VCA and TCA are the only associations to have adopted the reforms at an SGM, the others have not even convened an SGM for its members to consider the recommendations.

At the adjourned SGM here on October 1, the BCCI considered the MOA and the Rules and Regulations, voted on the ones the members regarded as contentious and diabolical, and rejected many recommendations, such as the one state, one member, one vote; tenure and term restrictions; cooling off period of three years after every term; disqualifying ministers, public servants and those who have crossed 70 and are elected representatives in other sports federations; a position for a male and female representative of the players association; and the powers given to the CEO of the BCCI and a few more.

“We don’t want the remaining money (of the CLT20 compensation). Our position is the same as it has been from the day the recommendations were made known in January and approved by the Supreme Court on July 18. Administration in this country will collapse if we accept the recommendations in full,’’ said a full member, who will attend the meeting.

Another official from South India said, “Our legal committee’s understanding is that the Lodha Committee recommendations are not applicable to us now.’’

Almost all full members will go by what the BCCI president, Anurag Thakur, has told them. The BCCI chief’s line of thinking has rarely been opposed by his full member colleagues; Vidarbha had its own reasons to think on its own, while Tripura too decided to respect the court order. Hyderabad CA has given an undertaking to a court that it will adopt the Lodha Committee recommendations.

The Supreme Court will hear the case on October 17 at 2 pm. The Lodha Committee has already recommended that the office-bearers be superseded, and they be replaced by a panel of administrators of the BCCI to ensure the smooth transition from old to the new system. After hearing amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium, the bench said: “Mr. Subramanium has raised several issues for our consideration, but we do not, for the present, propose to deal with the same. All that we need mention is that in the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee, the BCCI appears to be non-cooperative in its attitude.’’