Living up to its promise of >regaining the “purity of the game” and restoring the dignity of the players, the Lodha Committee has suggested sweeping reforms in the structuring and governance of cricket in the country. The three-member panel submitted its report to the Supreme Court on Monday.
One of the most significant suggestions the panel makes is the f >ormation of separate governing bodies for the Indian Premier League and the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Also recommended is the setting up of a Players’ Association to safeguard the interests of the cricketers.
Suggesting a uniform constitution for the Board and its affiliates, the panel aims to reduce the number of members in the all-powerful Working Committee to nine from 14, with the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and joint-secretary making up the office-bearers. As a result, there will only be one vice-president instead of five.
The strength of the IPL Governing Council, it is recommended, should be reduced to nine and include two representatives from the franchisees, nominees of the Players’ Association and the Comptroller & Auditor General’s office.
The Players’ Association, to be constituted by the Board, should include former Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai as the chairman, former India players Mohinder Amarnath, Anil Kumble and Diana Edulji as members of the Steering Committee.
“The PA would not act like a union, and all the costs of running the association would be met by the BCCI,” Justice Lodha announced at a press conference after releasing the report.
Former first-class players, five years after retirement, would become part of the association. “The idea is to give players voice, use their expertise and skills for the development and betterment of the game,” Justice Lodha added.
In 2005-06, Kumble was the principal negotiator for the players in a fight for an enhanced share in the profits earned by the Board. He had then drafted the terms for player contracts, and was instrumental in securing the players a share of the profits in the International Cricket Council-conducted events.
During his term as president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, he took steps to make every decision transparent. These initiatives did not escape the notice of the Lodha Committee.
The panel, in a significant departure from the past, suggests that >one individual hold only one post in cricket administration . The office-bearers would have to choose between positions in respective state associations and the parent body.
In a move that was evidently pushed by the players, the senior selection committee, the report recommends, should comprise only three members, instead of five at present.
“And they have to be Test players,” said Justice Lodha.
The Committee noted that the people had the right to know the functions, facilities and the other activities of the Board.
“Whether the RTI Act is applicable to the BCCI or the BCCI is amenable to the RTI act is sub-judice. We have recommended the Legislature must seriously consider bringing BCCI within the purview of the RTI Act,” Justice Lodha asserted.
The Lodha Committee also calls for dividing the governance into two parts: cricketing and non-cricketing.
“The non-cricketing management will be handled by six professional managers headed by a CEO, and the cricket matters — like selection, coaching and performance evaluation — should be left to the players,” explained Justice Lodha.
Another key recommendation tackled the fact that three units from one state now enjoy the power to vote. For example, Maharashtra and Gujarat have three full members each. But Bihar has no representation at all in the Board. The Committee recommended that one association should represent an entire state.
“In this case, one association would have complete representation while the others will work as Associates. Units which do not have territories (Services, Railways, All-India Universities, National Cricket Club and Cricket Club of India) ought to be treated as Associate Members, and should not be allowed to vote,” said Justice Lodha.
The Lodha Committee — comprising retired judges, Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice R.V. Raveendran — was formed by the Supreme Court in January last year.
“This report >will bring cricket fans back to the fold and put an end to regional excesses and imbalances reign by cliques, corruption and red tape, all of which have harmed the game and the youngsters looking for nothing more than to take the field in flannels,” concludes the report