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  Opinion   Edit  03 Jan 2017  Landmark verdict may cleanse cricket admin

Landmark verdict may cleanse cricket admin

Published : Jan 3, 2017, 12:02 am IST
Updated : Jan 3, 2017, 7:24 am IST

Two of the last four presidents of BCCI have been dismissed from their posts.

BCCI President Anurag Thakur (Photo: PTI)
 BCCI President Anurag Thakur (Photo: PTI)

This is akin to a New Year gift for Indian cricket. The BCCI’s top honchos, who were instrumental in blocking the reforms proposed by the Lodha Committee, have been summarily removed from their posts. The board president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke were asked to demit office at once. Things would not have come to such a pass had only these “honorary” sports administrators accepted the supremacy of law and the majesty of the top court and followed the diktats passed more than six months ago. By defying the top court in an arrogant manner that reeked of the money power of India’s most popular sport, the BCCI invited the wrath of the top court. The anger of the retiring chief justice, who had been an essential part of various benches that adjudicated on matters of cricket administration, was evident in the manner in which BCCI’s two chief office-bearers were axed. Those heading member associations of BCCI have not been spared either and those who are ineligible by the new Lodha reforms criteria will be stepping down too.

Some of the measures proposed to bring in the reforms, by which many senior administrators are forced to make way for younger people, may seem harsh. However, those very administrators are to blame for inviting such stern action by the court. Two of the last four presidents of BCCI have been dismissed from their posts. One died in office of old age complications and another abandoned BCCI to move on and become head of the whole caboodle in ICC. A clear pattern of most of the top brass wishing to cling to their posts was apparent with the BCCI willing to spend more than Rs 300 crore in legal fees over the last eight years after a basic challenge arose over conflict of interest and dragged the board into a serious court battle over its autonomy and its very raison détre as the federation that picks the national team. 

The Lodha panel reforms are aimed at introducing transparency in administration, particularly in financial matters, and bring in accountability, which was never a BCCI forte. The appointment of a CAG nominee was seen as such erosion of BCCI’s authority and autonomy that a president was willing to risk perjury in order to bring pressure on the top court.

The outgoing president’s sarcasm in slighting retired judges is just an indication of the arrogance bedevilling the cricket board. Many skeletons may come tumbling out if the manipulations in the tendering processes are brought out in fresh scrutiny by those who will be manning the new administrative set-up.

What cricket needs most is financial probity. What it needs least is the manoeuvring of the voting system through a whole set of favours and perquisites showered on the office-bearers of the voting affiliates. Anyone could do a better job of objectively handing out the valuable revenue contracts by which the BCCI has benefited to become the world’s richest cricket body. The sagacity of retired judges should be sufficient to pick the type of people who will bring back the good name cricket administration had in India when there was far less money.

Tags: anurag thakur, bcci, justice lodha committee