Hopes for transformation ahead of report’s release

January 04, 2016 03:24 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:01 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The much-awaited Lodha Committee report on reforms in the BCCI is set to announce some sweeping changes aimed at revolutionising the way the game is administered in the country.

The three-member Committee was formed by the Supreme Court to >suggest ways of improving cricket administration in India, and sources confirmed there were sections that would create a storm in the corridors of power of the Board.

Contrary to general impression, the report, sources insisted, will be deemed binding in due course.

Accountability and transparency in all departments of the Board is the theme of the Committee comprising former Supreme Court chief Justice R.M. Lodha and former Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and R.V. Raveendran.

The Committee had extensively interviewed some prominent former and current administrators and players with a set of 125 questions related to the running of the Board and the game.

The report is likely to make a huge impact if it tackles issues like what is the source of power for the BCCI to govern cricket in India and the eligibility criteria to be an office-bearer in the BCCI, the IPL and their constituents.

One of the questions asked was whether any prior engagement with cricket was necessary to be an office bearer. The Committee was very keen to know what material was not placed on the websites of BCCI/IPL/constituents and why?

Even as >the Board awaits the report , the cricket fraternity — fans, players and the media — expects Justice Lodha to suggest wide-ranging changes to the game which has been rattled of late by betting and spot-fixing scandals.

The report is expected to question the involvement of individuals with little apparent interest in the game, and advocate greater involvement of players in cricket administration.

The Supreme Court had requested the Committee to “examine and make suitable recommendations” on various aspects. Justice Lodha had told The Hindu on Friday that the theme of the report remained “purity of the game.”

The report would assume greater importance in the backdrop of the various scandals that have exposed the working of the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association which is facing investigation for financial irregularities.

The recently appointed probe committee of the Delhi Government, >investigating various charges against the DDCA , had cited Board’s regulation 32(iv) that states: “The BCCI has to discharge some duties regarding misconduct of its members. BCCI, being a parent body governing cricket In India, has recognised the DDCA as the exclusive Association for promoting, developing and managing cricket in Delhi. Therefore, the BCCI cannot continue to have a hands-off approach and should suspend DDCA as per the Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of the BCCI per Regulation 32(vii) and >streamline the administration of DDCA . In the interim, professional cricketers should manage the affairs of cricket in Delhi.”

The Lodha Committee is reported to have taken a serious note of the lack of accountability and transparency in the running of some of the affiliated units of the Board.

The focus is expected to be on state associations which have seen the monopoly of individuals or families for decades. A uniform Constitution for the Board and its affiliated units, with service periods clearly defined, could be an important suggestion. The Board, on its part, has taken some pre-emptive measures like uploading its Constitution online and appointing an ombudsman and an auditing firm to look after complaints like conflicts of interest and financial irregularities.

It remains to be seen what the Committee has to say on Sundar Raman, former CEO of the IPL. The Supreme Court had asked the Committee to probe Raman’s role in the IPL spot-fixing scandal in 2013.

The Committee had recommended the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from the IPL as well as that of co-owners Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, in relation to the scandal.

The report, harsh in some areas, is to be released here on Monday. And the cricket fraternity will hope > BCCI president Shashank Manohar, who had promised accountability and transparency, will now walk the talk.

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