Lodha report: Too many issues for BCCI to tackle

Some recommendations by the Lodha report have not gone down well with a number of full member officials who have been in the thick of the BCCI administration for many years.

Former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha addressing a press conference after submitting a report to Supreme Court in New Delhi on Januaray 04   -  R. V. Moorthy

Mumbai: If you are 70, you are ineligible for a position on the all-powerful Apex Council position. This is what the Supreme Court- appointed Justice R.M. Lodha Committee has said in an emphatic manner, in its recommendations to usher in radical changes in the governance structure of the BCCI.

Clearly, this proposal has not gone down well with a number of full member officials who have been in the thick of the BCCI administration for many years.

The committee also recommends preventing ministers and government servants from being part of the administrative set up. The argument against that recommendation has been that the redevelopment of the Wankhede Stadium would not have been possible in time for the 2011 ICC World Cup, without the influence of the political and bureaucratic class in the cricket administration.

Should the BCCI be forced to fall in line with the Supreme Court’s diktat, the likes of Sharad Pawar (Mumbai Cricket Association), Niranjan Shah (Saurashtra Cricket Association), N. Srinivasan (Tamil Nadu Cricket Association), Gokaraju Ganga Raju (Andhra Cricket Association), Mohinder Pandove (Punjab Cricket Association), Farooq Abdullah (Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association), Ashirwad Behera (Secretary, Odhisha Cricket Association and also Secretary of the Odhisha Olympic Association) and a handful more will see their long innings come to an end, with the age-limit of 70 debarring them all for getting elected as office bearers, or even getting elected to the Apex Council from among the full member category.

Assam’s Gautam Roy, never a serious contender for the post of President or Secretary, is 67.

In this particular context it would be interesting to see the response from the BCCI’s Legal Committee chairman P.S. Raman, a former Advocate-General of Tamil Nadu.

He has been the face of the TNCA at the BCCI’s Working Committee and Special and Annual General Meetings in the absence of N. Srinivasan. He also enjoys good equations with the BCCI president Shashank Manohar.

Andhra’s D.V.S.S. Somayajulu and Maharashtra’s Abhay Apte are the other members of the legal committee.

The BCCI will also have to convince the Supreme Court about why it follows the ICC’s method of recognising the Test-playing countries as a full members and the others as associate and affiliate members, and why it would be impractical at this point of time to accord full membership to North Eastern States like Sikkim, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland.

Board members say that some cricket culture needs to be established in these parts, and that an East zone with 12 members at the AGMs would be untenable.

Some headway seems to have been made, though, with the Supreme Court-directed process enabling the identification of the entity to run cricket in the State of Bihar.

After the bifurcation of Bihar, the BCCI recognised Jharkhand Cricket Association as its full member because the erstwhile BCA functioned out of Jamshedpur. Bihar was accorded associate membership in 2008.

There are many more points the Legal Committee and eventually the BCCI would present to the Supreme Court, like the advantage of having a five-member selection committee in a large country like India and that the selection committee, as a standing committee, has been independent and never overruled by the Working Committee.

A senior BCCI member said: “The Lodha Committee could have had at least one sitting with the present BCCI management, with Shashank Manohar as its president. We would have clarified lot of issues. Unfortunately this did not happen.”

Meanwhile, some full members have been asked to respond to the Lodha Committee proposals by February 15.

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