What began as a public interest litigation by a non-member of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over inaction against some of the guilty IPL team officials and their teams, has three years since culminated in its administrative overhaul, to be supervised by the same wise men who suggested it.
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Despite the popular perception of the BCCI administration being forced into a corner by the Supreme Court upholding virtually most of the recommendations of the three-member panel headed by retired Chief Justice of India R.N. Lodha, the 143-page order released on Monday offered a huge sigh of relief for the BCCI on two counts.
The two-bench panel of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla let the BCCI hold the right to distribute funds among its members, even in the soon-to-be implemented new structure. And, more importantly, the Supreme Court hasn’t accepted the Lodha committee’s recommendation of restricting commercial breaks during broadcast. It will ensure Indian cricket’s highly successful commercial model doesn’t go for a toss.
Makeover in offing
Barring these two decisions, however, there is not much in the offing to please the officials. No wonder, then, that messages were being circulated by the higher-ups among its member representatives not to make any public comments about the order.
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The only one to comment in public was the BCCI’s newly appointed CEO, Rahul Johri. “We respect what the Supreme Court has said. We are studying the judgement, so can’t comment specifically on any recommendations,” Johri said, at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.
Once these changes come into effect, the five vice-presidents — ceremonial posts — will be reduced to just one. And the working committee, the Board’s governing body, will not only be rechristened the Apex Council, but will also see the inclusion of independent members, player representatives and a woman representative for the very first time; All this with a cap of nine members, as against a minimum of 18 till now.
This will thus end an 88-year-old tradition of the working committee being the most powerful committee of the BCCI ever since its inception in 1928. Moreover, a similar structure will have to be followed by the state associations. With restrictions on tenure and age specified in the order, a host of high-profile administrators will have to call it quits from cricket administration. Sharad Pawar (Mumbai), N. Srinivasan (Tamil Nadu), Niranjan Shah (Saurashtra), D.P. Reddy and M.P. Pandove (Punjab) can no longer serve as administrators since they are above 70.
Besides, a host of influential personalities will be ineligible to hold on to posts in their respective state associations, including Pawar, Srinivasan, Shah, Pandove, Ajay Shirke (Maharashtra), Anurag Thakur (Himachal Pradesh), Amitabh Choudhary (Jharkhand) and Brijesh Patel (Karnataka), since each of them has held on to top posts in his association for more than nine years.
Lodha, the supervisor
After deciding the quantum of punishment for Gurunath Meiyappan, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, if you thought Monday’s order will put an end to Justice Lodha committee’s association with Indian cricket, hang on! The committee has been tasked with supervising the implementation of Monday’s order within a period of four months, “at best six months”. That would mean, Lodha & Co. will soon start getting in touch with the State associations to ensure a smooth transition.