The BCCI should by and large accept the Justice Lodha panel recommendations and implement them just as Cricket Australia (CA) did with the governance review of David Crawford and Colin Carter.
Justice Lodha, who says he has been impressed and influenced by the CA example, doesn’t specify that his report needs to be accepted by a majority of the state associations or the BCCI general body, unlike the Crawford-Carter report, which needed approval of 11 of the 14 existing directors.
Crawford and Carter, well known in the field of corporate governance, were hired by CA, unlike the Lodha panel which was appointed by the Supreme Court following allegations of maladministration and corruption in the board.
The board is left with little option except going back either to Lodha for a review or approach the Supreme Court for clarifications. Slowly, voices are being raised on the efficacy or otherwise of the report.
The court can’t refuse to hear genuine problems arising out of the report, though it had said Justice Mudgal’s report on IPL corruption was binding. It might consider hearing a couple of issues, which the board thinks can adversely affect the game. One is one state, one vote. The states are divided on it, but a majority of them are in favour of it. That means amending the constitution to do away with founder-members which now form part of Maharashtra and Gujarat states. As for affiliation to some states, the board has to go by own norms.
It must have been a lot tougher for the Lodha panel to practically rewrite almost the entire BCCI constitution with 30 affiliated units registered under different systems than in the case of CA, which has to simply reduce the undue weightage given to Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, giving all six states one vote each to trim the number of directors to nine from 14.
Eventually, CA will be run by an independent commission and directors will have little to do with state boards. Lodha wants something similar in BCCI. But to get all the states on board, with their own peculiar issues, won’t be easy in a democratic set-up. Insisting that the health of his board didn’t necessitate the changes to remove century-old imbalance, CA chairman Wally Edwards felt, “Everyone recognises it’s the way forward for the next 100 years.” Shashank Manohar’s initial response is similar, his sagacity drawing praise from Lodha. For good measure, Lodha says BCCI is the best run sports body in India! Once the associations comb through the report, they might come up with suggestions.
Lodha himself answered a couple of things, like setting up of a committee to help players form an association. What if international players say they are happy and don’t want to be association members? The board has for years maintained it didn’t see any reason for players to form an association as their needs are well taken care of.
Lodha favours the CA clause of one state one vote and also one man one post. Like in Australia, the new BCCI could see moneybags entering it in a big way, now that ministers and bureaucrats have been asked to stay away.
With the mushrooming professional leagues, sport is in the hands of businessmen and Bollywood. Now that the IPL can have two franchisee owners in the Governing Council, the tycoons will have a greater say in the running of the league. All they need is to get into state bodies and the board to pull the levers. Not that the board is unmindful of its pitfalls or didn’t try to reform. Sharad Pawar tried with a vision paper, but the vested interests didn’t allow some of his far-reaching constitutional amendments, most of which are now being rammed down their throats by Lodha.
The National Sports Development Bill, moved by former Sports Minister Ajay Maken, tried to bring BCCI in its sweep, but some of his powerful cabinet colleagues, also cricket czars, made sure it didn’t reach Parliament. Now, the Lodha report has to go through some churning.
The writer is a veteran sports
commentator and the views expressed are personal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
BCCI Seeks Inputs
Mumbai: The BCCI has advised its affiliated units to convene a meeting of their managing committees to discuss recommendations of the Lodha panel. In a letter, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur asked the units to get back by January 31.