CHENNAI: What the Indian cricket board has been expecting over the last few months, finally happened on Monday. Justice RM Lodha-led panel recommended sweeping changes in the administration and structure of the Board. The report submitted to the Supreme Court tried to bring in more transparency and accountability while upholding the autonomy of the board.
Though the board hasn’t commented anything officially yet, the top brass are set to meet in Mumbai on Tuesday on the sidelines of BCCI Awards function but indications are that president Shashank Manohar seem to have no reservations accepting the recommendations if the report is made binding. However, BCCI might even call for a Special General Meeting to discuss the issues before finalising.
One of the sticky issues was its recommendation of one state and one vote. The six associations affected will be Mumbai, Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra. The panel observed that not all states are represented at the BCCI and where as the above mentioned have over-represented. The panel, however, has left it to the BCCI to decide which of these associations will be the parent body — meaning only one vote for the state and other two being relegated to associate members. It calls for “Democratic norms require each State should have equal representation, and therefore the Committee proposes the policy of ‘One State – One Member – One Vote’. The panel also wants to do away with all powerful Working Committee and instead have equal representations of all units. Instead have a general body (see chart).
“As an individual I have no problems with the recommendations,” said Ajay Shirke, the president of Maharashtra Cricket Association one of the units under the scanner. “This has got to do with voting only and is not going to affect the cricket in this region. The Ranji teams and age-group sides will continue to play and for anybody cricket is the primary objective. So it is something that the board can think about,” he said. Another issue that’s part of the Sports Code is age and tenure. The panel caps tenure. The cumulative period of a board official should not be more than 9 years — three terms of three years for office-bearers with a cooling off period after each term and for presidents two terms of three years and he cannot contest for any other post after that.
It needs to be seen whether the board officials will accept the panel’s proposal that says no office bearer of the BCCI shall hold any post in state units. All office-bearers barring president Shashank Manohar won’t be eligible to continue in their role. “There is no conflict of interest here because as per the constitution we need to hold a position in the state unit to make ourselves eligible to get into BCCI,” an official said.
The panel also suggested that betting be legal so that a law in place. “The only way to deal with fixing is by making it a criminal offence... Committee recommends appropriate amendments by the legislature.”