Former players seek clarity over conflict of interest issue in CoA meeting

With the cricketers falling under the Conflict of Interest ambit, the CoA members -- Diana Edulji and Ravi Thodge -- heard versions of the former and current cricketers in a bid to look for a solution.

Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman have recently fallen under the ambit of Conflict of Interest. PHOTO: PTI

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) met some of the top Indian cricketers at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters on Monday, to take their suggestions on issues related to Conflict of Interest.

With the cricketers falling under the Conflict of Interest ambit, the CoA members -- Diana Edulji and Ravi Thodge -- heard versions of the former and current cricketers in a bid to look for a solution.

While Rahul Dravid -- who has faced Conflict of Interest allegations after being appointed as the Director of Cricket at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) -- recused himself from the meeting, former India captain Sourav Ganguly joined from Kolkata via Skype. The other cricketers who attended the meeting include Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Ajit Agarkar, Parthiv Patel, Irfan Pathan and Rohan Gavaskar. Though VVS Laxman was supposed to attend the meeting, he missed out due to some family emergency. Tendulkar, too, skipped it.

Edulji said that all the issues related to Conflict of Interest were discussed, and the recommendations will be forwarded to the court-appointed amicus curiae for his consideration.

“We discussed the problems being faced by cricketers, the problems being faced by us (the administrators) to implement it also and it was a very good vibrant discussion. There were some good suggestions which came in,” Edulji said.

“As of now Conflict of Interest rules have to be followed because they are enshrined in the (BCCI) constitution and as and when it will be decided by the court, the amendments will be made,” the CoA member said.

The meeting was convened in the aftermath of the Conflict of Interest allegations on Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman and Dravid. After Sanjeev Gupta, a life member of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, complained about the possible conflict of interest of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman, all three opted out of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), and the BCCI had to reconstitute the panel.

One of the cricketers who attended the meeting told Sportstar that during the meeting, Ganguly categorically sought clarity on Conflict of Interest guidelines. The former India captain, who is the chief of Cricket Association of Bengal and is also part of Delhi Capitals also made it clear that he does not stand conflicted.

Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan arrives at the BCCI headquarters ahead of the CoA meet.   -  PTI

Ambiguity over Conflict of Interest process

Most of the cricketers pointed out the ambiguity over the entire process. “Now, most of us are confused as to what is a conflict of interest and what is not. There has to be a clear understanding about the entire process. Some of the recommendations suggested by the Lodha committee are impossible to implement and similarly, there are quite a few gray areas in the Conflict of Interest case which need to be addressed,” a former India cricketer, who also runs a cricket academy, said.

The group included former cricketers and the players who are involved with cricket broadcast. “There is a bit of ambiguity on whether a cricketer who has a short term contract with BCCI in any capacity can be involved in any other roles. We discussed all this issues with the CoA, who said that they will forward our recommendations to the amicus and then the ball will be in his court,” one of the former cricketers, who is also a commentator, said.

Edulji said that the CoA will discuss the matter in its next meeting. “Our chairman (Vinod Rai) was not here today, we will sit in our next meeting and discuss all these points. A white paper will be made and we are trying our best to see what is best for cricket. We don’t want to hamper anybody also but stay within the rules. And if the Supreme Court decides as and when, the amendments will be made down the line for everybody and it will be a good sign,” Edulji said.

Irfan Pathan, who attended the meeting, later told reporters that it was a fruitful meeting where thoughts and ideas were exchanged. “We spoke about former players, current players and what is happening now. And it was a long and good discussion. The players explained the whole thing and the decision makers have heard us.”