Like a wayward horse, refusing to be stalled!

The fifth status report of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), should, hopefully, put the reforms, which the BCCI has been opposing, in place.

Former Chief Justice of India, R. M. Lodha. The reforms suggested by his committee have not been implemented in full by the BCCI.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Defiance has assumed a humungous proportion in the way of the functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). To repeatedly defy the Supreme Court can’t be considered a feather in the cap of the BCCI. But then, the cricket administrators have been successful in blocking all attempts at reforms.

The Lodha Committee Reforms are aimed at bringing about transparency and accountability in the functioning of the BCCI, which has remained a cosy club all these years. The same set of officials have ruled the administration by balancing their involvement with the game at both the state and the national level.

Thus, the reforms are unacceptable to most of these self-promoting cricket officials. For some, the affiliated units are family affairs. And they are so well entrenched it is not possible to get rid of them. Or so it seems.

“Why do you need these reforms when we have run the game so efficiently?” a veteran official had questioned. The question is not of the game being run efficiently. It is a matter of transparency becoming paramount in a system where there is no accountability. Justice (Retd.) R. M. Lodha, the chief architect of these reforms along with Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and R. V. Raveendran, summed up his views aptly, “There are just a few officials who think they can defy the Supreme Court. These officials are examples of nepotism that has led to the current state of affairs.”

For long, the BCCI has remained a body under the dictatorship of a handful. In an interview to Sportstar, Justice Lodha had expressed his opinion candidly, “The BCCI has become the fiefdom of a small group of officials. They are disturbed by the fact that power will vanish from their preserve if the reforms are implemented. It is a small group of men whose existence in cricket administration is threatened if the reforms are put in place.”

For many officials, the BCCI is a personal fiefdom. “They love it when top cricketers line up outside their rooms for small favours. Their positions in the BCCI gives them an opportunity to hobnob with top bureaucrats and politicians. The power that comes from being a cricket official can be an intoxicant really,” a former star had confessed to this reporter even as the cricketers fought for recognition.

Observers, however, are aghast at BCCI’s defiance. The Supreme Court ruling had come on July 18, 2016 and the BCCI was given six months to implement the reforms in toto. The cricket fraternity had welcomed the Supreme Court ruling since it showed the way for the BCCI to be accountable and transparent in its functioning. 

“We are conscious of fact that the process may be time consuming but we hope that the same should be completed within a period of four months or at best six months from today,” the Supreme Court had said on July 18, 2016. The situation remains unchanged as the BCCI, managed by a few misguided officials, continues to oppose the reforms in the name of being an autonomous body.

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) is as exasperated as the cricket fan at the recalcitrant BCCI officials. Five status reports have been submitted by the CoA and every report exposed the BCCI officials and their nepotism. The CoA, however, is frustrated as the matter has lingered despite the Apex Court ruling that the reforms have to be implemented in full.

The BCCI Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji, Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri, acting BCCI President C. K. Khanna, acting secretary, Amitabh Choudhary and CEO Rahul Johri during a press conference at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.   -  PTI

 

The BCCI has picked a few issues as being unacceptable. Most of them concern the carefree existence of the officials. Every status report only highlights the malfunctioning of the cosy club that the BCCI is. There are state units where top players have not been inducted as members.

“Imagine, we bring glory to the state and serve the game most earnestly and we can’t even become members of the associations. The officials want to control the players and that can happen only if we are denied membership,” said a former player, who has made innumerable attempts to get voting rights in the state unit he had represented.

Most of the state units have kept their voting electorate a secret. Some important officials in the associations are said to have their personal staff as voting members. “They should be exposed,” urged a cricketer. The CoA had asked for the list of voting members from all the units but even this step has faced defiance.

The fifth status report is expected to put the desired reforms in motion. The CoA will present the new constitution and that should put the seal on the entire exercise of making cricket administration transparent and accountable. “There was a time when the constitution was considered a classified document. The BCCI just did not believe in making public its way of functioning. The new constitution will also take care of interests of the cricketers and the fans,” said a veteran official who supported the reforms.

Cricket administration is in for some pleasant changes. It is for the Supreme Court to quell the BCCI’s defiance and ensure that the reforms are put in place.