Most BCCI members saw change coming

Once the Justice Lodha committee submitted its proposals to clean up Indian cricket in January, 2015, many members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had seen change arriving.

The committee came to a conclusion that radical reforms, though unpalatable, was needed to set right the woes affecting the game.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Majority of the full members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) - States, government institutions, private clubs but founder members, and the middle and lower rung members in the associate and affiliate category - had seen reforms in cricket long coming once the Lodha panel (headed by Justice R. M. Lodha, and involving R. Raveendran and Ashok Bhan) submitted its recommendations to the apex court on January 4, 2015.

>Read: BCCI's faux pas confuses Justice Lodha committee

The Justice Lodha committee first articulated its views in a 300-page report on the basis of its interaction with 72 individuals from a cross section of the society that was associated with cricket either as a player, administrator, a journalist or any other genre of a stakeholder.

The committee came to a conclusion that radical reforms, though unpalatable, was needed to set right the woes affecting the game in the form of maladministration and corruption that short-changed the cricket fan.

The Supreme Court endorsed the recommendations – almost all of it – after hearing the BCCI and its members point of view. The apex court modified the recommendations on the nature of live broadcast of home internationals and thereafter, the Lodha Committee gave its consent to change the composition of the IPL governing council by withdrawing two positions for the franchises on the council.

After validating the Lodha Committee recommendations on July 18, the Supreme Court mandated the committee to oversee the implementation of its recommendations in a phased manner and complete the entire process of reforms in cricket within four months or a maximum of six months by mid-December. The Lodha Committee served two sets of timelines for the BCCI and its member units to bring a finality to the reforms in cricket proposals by mainly adopting the new Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Rules and Regulations.

Shock

There was palpable disquiet among the BCCI and its members who have held various positions over many years and the sheer thought of giving up all power to a new band of administrators was not acceptable to them.

At the outset, most of the associations began to feel that the BCCI’s reply or objections to the radical recommendations and the intervention applications by many member units would bail them out. The BCCI’s rationale that it was registered with the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act and that it was answerable to it did not go down with the apex court.

The Lodha Committee report even took a big victim in Shashank Manohar, who resigned as BCCI President, citing lack of competency to deal with the changed circumstances. The vacancy by his exit brought Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke into the centre stage of dealing with what was the toughest phase in the nearly nine-decade history of BCCI’s existence.

The BCCI contested may provisions in the recommendations. They were:

. the One State, One Member, One Vote rule that gave full membership to the NE States in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland and also to Bihar and Uttarakhand;

. positions for a male and female representative in the apex council and financing the players association;

. the nomination of a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) representative in the apex council which it felt was government interference;

. the three-year restriction for all office bearers and the elected councillor;

. a cooling off period of three years after the first three-year term and a maximum term of nine years for an office bearer and elected councillor;

. the age restriction of 70 years, barring ministers, government servants (modified to public servants in the Supreme Court order of July 18);

. barring a member of another national sports body from occupying any post in the BCCI; and

. reducing the composition of the senior, junior and women selection committees from five to three members; and

. keeping the BCCI President out of the IPL Governing Council.

The BCCI expressed its misgivings and disinclination to implement the recommendations within the two timelines set by the Lodha Committee in a number of ways. Taking note of the BCCI’s reluctance to move forward, the Lodha Committee articulated its view in the status report to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Item No. 6 of the status report says:

“While the office bearers of the BCCI gave assurances to the SC committee on 9.8.2016, 25.8-2016 and 20.9.2016 that they would cooperate with the Committee towards fulfilling the directions of this Hon’ble Court (subject to any modification or review), the events over the past weeks have shown that this was not the case. Directions of this Hon’ble court have been ignored, the directives of the committee have been breached and member associations have not been duly intimated about the directions of the committee and the timelines fixed by it.”

With the status report coming down ruthlessly hard on the BCCI and its leadership, the Emergent Special General Meeting here on Friday, would probably see a subdued BCCI, adopting the new MOA and Rules and Regulations. Perhaps it did not take the two Chief Justice of Indias (CJIs) of India – the incumbent and his immediate past predecessor - seriously.

Lodha violations

Justice Lodha has pointed out the following impediments by the BCCI:

1. No acknowledgment or reply from BCCI's top office bearers to communication from the SC committee

2.No acknowledgment or reply to email sent to Rahul Johri, CEO, BCCI

3. Despite SC Judgment, BCCI floats Invitation to Tender for Media Rights - India vs West Indies in USA

4. BCCI did not provide details of eligibility, etc., in the ITT

5. Media reports that Media Rights to Florida T-20s are awarded to Star and that Sony did not bid -- No notice on BCCI website or details of bids and processes

6. Review Petitions filed by BCCI in SC kept in defects

7. AGM proceeds well beyond routine business despite directions of the SC Committee

8.EGM postponed to 30.9.2016 which is also the actual last date of the timeline, thereby making the adoption (MOA and Rules and Regulations) in time impossible

9. AGM almost solely deals with business of 2016-17

10. Bihar, Puducherry and newly added NE States and Union Territories not included in the domestic calendar at all levels

11. The eligibility prescribved (for selectors, senior, junior and women) not in conformity with the recommendations approved by the Hon'ble Court

12. No initiative taken by the BCCI despite Timelines

13. Almost all items in the agenda of AGM are violations. This includes election of Secretary, selection committees, President and Secretary authorised to appoint new Ombudsman, nominees to ICC and SGM to be held on 30th September ``to consider amendments to Rules and Regulations'' as recommended by the Committee