BCCI presents its counters to most major Lodha panel recommendations

March 03, 2016 12:09 am | Updated November 17, 2021 05:10 am IST - NEW DELHI:

In a point-by-point counter to almost every recommendation made by the Supreme Court-appointed committee led by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, >the BCCI said the report is riddled with impractical suggestions , potentially leading to further corruption and inequality, and may cripple the financial health of Indian cricket, cause inherent conflict of interest and violate fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

Starting with the ‘One state one vote’ recommendation, >the BCCI said this may lead to corruption he likes of which is seen in the FIFA.

“Equal representation irrespective of cricketing activity is likely to result in a situation where States with little or no cricketing activity will abuse their representation.

The ‘one country one vote’ system resulted in the FIFA corruption scandal of 2015 where countries where there is little or no football activity were allegedly bribed by FIFA officials to vote in a particular manner,” the BCCI pointed out.

It said BCCI membership structure is historically based on the levels of cricketing activity rather than geographical limits of States, which are merely political sub-divisions created on linguistic basis much after the BCCI was formally established in 1929.

The >recommendation for drastic reduction in advertisements will have a crippling effect on its financial health, posited the BCCI.

“The entire revenue model on which Indian Premier League is based will collapse,” it said. Further, it would adversely affect franchisees and participating cricketers, besides reducing domestic cricketing activity, it added.

“Restricting ads to only drinks, lunch and tea breaks will substantially de-value the broadcast rights and cripple the income of the BCCI,” the affidavit said.

The BCCI said the Committee’s recommendation for caps on tenure and cooling-off periods for cricket administrators has no rationale.

“It would be unjust to deny an individual the full right to his freedom of association and the necessary core right to be part of the management of the affairs of such association and have a say in its functioning. Such a bar would also hamper continuity of meritorious and deserving administrators and impact the development of the game,” it said.

>On the ban on ministers, government servants and persons holding honorary posts in another sports body from being part of the BCCI, the Board said such a restriction is in clear violation of the constitutional freedom of association under Article (19) (1) (c), and “patently unreasonable”.

It said the efforts of “these people ensured BCCI’s position of strength and importance in the cricket world”.

The Board strongly opposed the recommendation to make persons over 70 years of age ineligible to hold BCCI positions, saying there cannot be an age cap for persons who are elected in a democratic manner. In fact, the Board is only to gain from such mentors.

“Merely because he is 70 it does not mean he ceases to function efficiently.

There are numerous examples of persons being 70 years and above who are making important contributions in their chosen fields, be it law, judiciary, public life, Parliament etc,” the BCCI reasoned.

The Board rejected the Lodha panel recommendation that a person cannot hold positions in a State association and the BCCI simultaneously.

“Justice Lodha Committee did not appreciate that each office-bearer is first elected by the State before he gets a chance to contest elections in the BCCI” and such a ban would be akin to penalising a State administration by denying it the administrative experience of an officebearer who also holds an honorary post in the BCCI, the affidavit said.

It said the Lodha panel’s suggestions to have a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General in the management committee of the Apex Council is simply contrary to law, and an infliction of governmental interference in an autonomous body.

Likewise, >having two IPL franchisees on the IPL Governing Council amounts to an “inherent conflict of interest ”, as player retention policy, posting of umpires, etc, are deliberated and decided by Governing Council.

The Board further trashed the recommendation of the ‘one State one member’ policy in States like Maharashtra, where there are multiple existing members.

It said this would result in destroying the country’s premier domestic tournament, the Ranji Trophy, and reduce rather than increase the opportunities available to players participating in the BCCI tournaments.

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