CHENNAI: The BCCI’s first annual general meeting in Shashank Manohar’s second innings as president lived up to promises of reform showered in the build-up. Rules on conflict of interest containing contentious clauses were approved, with amendments in constitution. The BCCI’s legal committee headed by Tamil Nadu’s PS Raman will draft the rules before they come into effect.
In an extension of the regulations on conflict of interest, Roger Binny had to vacate his seat as selector, since his son Stuart is an active player eligible for selection. Ravi Shastri was removed from the IPL governing council because of his commitments as director of the national team.
As expected, members voiced reservations against the proposed conflict of interest rules, which was the 13th and final point on the AGM agenda at Cricket Centre in Mumbai. Units like Bengal and Goa didn’t have problems, but several — Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Saurashtra, Andhra to name a few — were apprehensive. According to a member who attended the meeting, representatives of Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu were among those to ask questions about the proposed rules. “Manohar listened to all concerns and came up with satisfactory explanations. He was open to suggestions and agreed to modifications. In certain cases, clauses were rephrased with changes in words here and there,” this head of a BCCI unit told Express.
“Going strictly by the way they were, the rules restricted near relatives of state body presidents or secretaries from taking part in cricket-related activities in that particular state. After listening to this question, Manohar clarified that they can, as long as there’s no commercial benefit.” Another member said queries were addressed “satisfactorily”.
Manohar had spoken about appointing an independent observer to handle conflicts of interest. Several were unsure how this would work, saying that the ombudsman’s neutrality was not above doubt. However, there were hardly objections when Manohar proposed retired Justice AP Shah be appointed for a year. Some said he was appointed on the assurance that his views will not be final and binding. “We’ve been told his decision will be referred back to the BCCI, which will have the final say. This was also a matter of concern, but the decision to keep the call in its own hands satisfies those who were apprehensive,” said a member, who had reservations about the ombudsman.
Eye on Lodha
Irrespective of their opinion of the proposals, members were unanimous that all this is being done to send a message to the Justice Lodha Commission that the BCCI is proactive in setting house in order. The three-man commission appointed by Supreme Court is likely to table a report in December, which might include suggestions on better governance, including structural reform.
“The reforms are largely Manohar’s brainchild. They were needed to show that the board is doing something,” said a member.