Anurag Thakur: Can't bring politics into sports

Thankur maintained that BCCI was open to suggestions in the interest of the game but had objections to those recommendations that "are either going to harm the game or are not easy to implement" and had approached the Supreme Court for the same.

Anurag Thakur insisted that the BCCI was committed to bringing in transparency and accountability in the game.   -  PTI

PepsiCo as BCCI’s official partner for refreshment, snacks and drinks besides having the grounds rights.   -  AP

On a day when the Supreme Court of India ripped every Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) argument against the implementation of the Justice Lodha Committee report, the Board secretary Anurag Thakur insisted that the BCCI was committed to bringing in transparency and accountability in the game while also saying “we cannot bring politics into sports.”

Thakur, talking to the media on the occasion of signing a four-year sponsorship deal with Pepsico, maintained that BCCI was open to suggestions in the interest of the game but had objections to those recommendations that “are either going to harm the game or are not easy to implement” and had approached the Supreme Court for the same.

“On the one hand we are fighting court proceedings and on the other we are here to welcome Pepsico back on board as one of the three associate sponsors, opening up new revenue streams. We want to increase the fan engagement and also want to work on revenue for the BCCI,” Thakur said.

Interestingly, Pepsico abruptly had pulled out of IPL's title sponsorship last year after the league was hit by corruption and image issues. “When Pepsi parted with the IPL, we had insisted we had not dissociated with the BCCI,” Pepsico CEO D. Sivakumar said.

Asked about the uncertainty over the Indo-Pak World T20 game in Dharamsala, Thakur refused to give a direct reply. “It is up to the State government to make the announcement. From our side the match is on,” he said.

Claiming that “the World Cup is a prestigious event and about the honour of the country”, he said that such changes cannot be made at the last moment. “We met the Himachal CM in a cordial atmosphere and decided that India-Pakistan bilateral series games would not be scheduled in Dharamsala. We all condemn terror attacks and stand by our martyrs but cannot bring politics into sports. The State government will also speak to those raising concerns and we are hopeful of a positive decision

The three-sponsor, four-year deals would yield a combined revenur of approximately Rs. 150 crores for the Board, a pittance when compared to the kind of money BCCI is used to negotiate in the past. The other two sponsors would be announced later.

The deal with Pepsico would see the beverage giant get ground visibility, pouring and snacking rights at all international matches to be played in the country across formats.

However, the same doesn’t extend to the women's team though Sivakumar said it was something they would look into in future.