Today’s proceeding at the Court
The ongoing tussle between the Lodha commission and Board of cricket for Cricket in India was all set for a huge day as the Supreme Court was about to pronounce a verdict on the matter. However the decision has been deferred by the honorary Supreme Court until December 9, leading to another painful wait. Where this BCCI vs Lodha panel fight heads to will be interesting to follow.
The key question that remains to be is answered is “Will the Supreme Court pass a judicial order replacing elected representatives of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with an observer who would make the board Lodha Committee report compliant?”.
Further the Supreme Court’s order barring the BCCI and its state units from utilizing funds till they implement Lodha panel recommendations in full has not been implemented by majority of state association. Only the state cricket associations Hyderabad, Vidarbha and Tripura have agreed to implement this draconian move.
The fight which has now turned into battle of egos is dragging for long and has led to considerable fatigue all over. “We want cricket to function efficiently and that is why the reforms are suggested. We want the matter end quickly so that the panel members can get on with other work,” Gopal Sankaranarayanan, secretary of the Lodha panel, is reported to have told a leading newspaper.
After the BCCI vs Lodha panel fight escalated BCCI has conducted two Special General Body Meetings since the first court order was out in October. They pointed out that the onus of ringing in primary changes rested with its affiliated unit. These units, along with the BCCI, were legally formed under various acts.
Earlier the BCCI President and a prominent BJP Leader had submitted a report to the top court regarding reservations of some state units. The state associations had rejected the recommendations of the Lodha panel. Instead they wanted each recommendation to be discussed and voted.
Points of contention
The board maintained a stance that most of the recommendation of the powerful Lodha panel were acceptable accept a select few. The sticky points resulting in BCCI vs Lodha panel tussle are:
- One state one vote (Maharashtra has three associations with vote namely: Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidharbha. The state of Gujarat too has three votes through Gujarat Cricket Association, Saurashtra CA and Baroda Cricket Association)
- Retrospective restriction on office-bearers’ term of office. The Board wants this to be a prospective one.
- Cooling off after each three-year term. It instead wanted the cooling off to be after two terms of three years each
- Age cap of 70 years as this would deprive BCCI of able, fit, experienced and mature administrators.
- Sidelining of Railways and Services who have been intrinsically involved with the promotion and development of cricket and cricketers for decades and have provided scores of jobs for budding cricketers.
However the two sides are not seen to be toeing a common line. The Lodha panel is too adamant not to change its stand. It believes that all the recommendations are for the greater good of cricket administration in India.
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Impact on state associations
Many experts feel that it would be difficult for state association to implement the recommendations. This is because of the fact that the proposed structure would curtails the power the associations are currently enjoying. For instance Karnataka Cricket Association’s 900-odd voting members would have to forgo many of their rights.
It is interesting that Vidarbha, Tripura and Hyderabad have agreed to implement the Lodha Panel report. Vidarbha and Tripura were the first state associations to implement the recommendations. However Vidarbha has tweaked some clauses. They have 11 rather than the recommended nine members in the Apex council. Further they have stated that they would appoint an ex-cricketer into the cricket committee. Likewise the state CAG’s representative would be incorporated into the finance committee.
The most potent problem with implantation of the Lodha panel recommendations is that the implementation would result in many “letterhead associations”. This will be serious particularly in the North East where the game of cricket is completely alien. This could have long term consequences for Indian cricket.
Perhaps the Supreme Court, in its wisdom, could provide just the required direction for the greater good of Indian cricket. We will all have to wait and watch how the things proceed from here. We hope that this long BCCI vs Lodha panel fight comes to a quick end for the greater good of game of Cricket.