Amid patriotic fervour, tough for CoA to ignore BCCI's interest in ICC
By Pradeep Magazine | Express News Service | Published: 19th March 2017 04:10 AM |
Indian cricket, regardless of its standing in the international arena, is always in the throes of a crisis. Most of it is self created, wounds inflicted by self-serving, venal administrators, who have used the board coffers and the game’s popularity for personal benefits.
These observations got sanctified once the highest court of the land—the Supreme Court—felt the need to intervene and dismantle its obsolete, opaque structure, after numerous and proven charges of corruption and “fixing” surfaced.
After a prolonged court-room battle, a committee of administrators (CoA) was appointed, which, I am sure, must be struggling to make sense of the job they have to accomplish, given the roadblocks they must be facing.
The CoA’s mandate and goals are clear—to get the board and its units to implement Lodha panel recommendations. What is unclear is how this exercise will take place, especially when a majority of board members and units are hell-bent on stalling these reforms.
The associations have gone back to court, alleging overreach by the administrators and time and again citing constitutional protections that are subject to legal interpretation. It is obvious that in this protracted battle the end game is not as near as one thought when the court nominated the committee to oversee the functioning of the board.
In the absence of authentic information from the appointed administrators, and most of the news filtering in from the discredited board sources, one is not sure what exactly the present situation is and by what process daily activities of the board are being supervised.
That the low-key board CEO, Rahul Johri, is the man overseeing its functioning should be obvious, especially given the lack of “cricketing” experience of the highly respected committee members. But that does not solve the problems the board has to sort out, be it its stand on the contentious issue of the revenue sharing model of the ICC and the role of the big three (India, Australia and England) in willingly giving up the money and power it had cornered under N Srinivasan’s stewardship.
If in India, the Supreme Court is forcing revolutionary changes in the board’s constitution, in the ICC, it was an Indian, Shashank Manohar, who as its head agreed to reduce the major share of money that was being allotted to India on the grounds that it generates the bulk of revenue for the game. This had created a lot of resentment in the cricketing world, especially from countries that can’t raise enough money to sustain the sport due to its lack of popularity in their countries.
The new revenue sharing model—as against the old one which favoured the “Big Three” on grounds that they corner most of the profits, but resulted in smaller members suffering—is not acceptable to the Indian board or its administrators, who are now no longer in control of the board.
In the backdrop of the rising tide of ultra nationalism in the country, where “India first” is the new slogan, and anything which goes against the country’s interests can be deemed “anti-national”, it is impossible to have a sane, reasonable debate which puts fairness and equitable revenue distribution above individual profit and “national interest”.
Should Manohar’s resignation from the chairmanship be seen in this context, as he may not have wanted to be seen as acting against India’s interests? Whatever his reasons may have been, it will be interesting to see what the CoA decides on this issue, something which is being thrust upon them, though their only mandate is to get the board implement Lodha recommendations.