Revamping BCCI as per Lodha Committee Report: How viable?
The IPL’s 2013 edition saw betting and spot-fixing scandal involving Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings.
It brought forward opaqueness of cricket administration in India.
The cases of corruption in DDCA, Jammu and Kashmir cricket association, Goa office bearers caught by ED, Hyderabad association dealing with ACB were now and then present in news.
With Lodha Committee recommendation to revamp BCCI has shown that cricket administration in India needs a more transparency, accountability, representation and participation.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the national governing body for cricket in India.
The board was formed in December 1928 as a society, registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act.
It is a consortium of state cricket associations and the state associations select their representatives who in turn elect the BCCI officials.
Board of Cricket Control in India has been working more like a private body with traditional opacity and corruption in functioning.
It is country’s most powerful and richest sports body
The 2013 IPL scandal became a catalyst for a judicial effort to curb BCCI’s powers, reform it structurally and operationally and introduce accountability.
Understanding cricket in India
There are huge number of politicians flocking BCCI to be a part of cricket administration inspite of neither being a cricket fan nor having enough time for its administrative issues.
The reason for politicians wanting to be a part of cricket associations is that they can become a visible face. A former agricultural minister was more known as ICC chairman and BCCI president than his ministerial role.
Such politicians when once come to board have used, misused and abused their positions.
Once the money started flowing into cricket, the politicians took full advantage of it. As against the current politicians, there was a politician called Mr. Wankhede who built the Wankhede stadium within six months. Others include Mr. Salve, Mr. Madhav Rao Scindia who loved the sport and hence led from the front to develop it.
When one state has more than one association, it means that it has more representation in the Board. This leads to critical decisions being taken while considering only few demands and not about the overall need. This leads to underdevelopment of sport uniformly in all parts of the country.
Justice Lodha Committee
The Lodha committee, comprising Former CJI Lodha and former Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and R. Raveendran, was set up by the apex court to clean up BCCI. Justice Lodha’s recommendations are properly in form of BCCI’s constitutional amendments.
The recommendations are aimed at making root-and-branch reforms and changing the year old elite formation of BCCI that ruled the Indian cricket at central and state levels.
Structural reforms, specific rules to eliminate conflicts of interest and creation of near-permanent tenures and fiefdoms are targeted.
Few noteworthy recommendations
Barring ministers and serving bureaucrats from holding office
Age limit of 70 years
Maximum of three 3-year terms with a cooling-off period of three years between each term.
Barring individuals from holding office simultaneously at the state and central levels
Restructuring of the BCCI’s management committee replacing it with a nine-member apex committee that includes two players’ representatives and a member from the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General
The President of BCCI’s power has been curtailed, with voting rights curbed.
The number of Vice-Presidents in the board has been reduced from five to one.
One state, One vote. Here, States are allowed to have multiple associations, including Maharashtra and Gujarat, to have an annual rotation policy between the in-State associations for the purpose of being considered full members with voting rights.
The category of association members has been limited to two: full members and associate members.
The non-territorial members of the board to get the status of associate members without voting rights.
These include the Kolkata-based National Cricket Club, the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai and the three institutional members—Railway Sports Promotion Board, Services Sports Control Board and All India Universities.
The IPL Governing Council too will be revamped, and additional BCCI committees are to be scrapped.
A players’ association, paid for by the Board, is to be set up, and could now play a crucial role in helping establish leverage for past and present cricketers, including women cricketers.
BCCI will have three special officers: an ombudsman, an electoral officer, and an ethics officer.
Role of Supreme Court
It is SC’s judicial intervention role to revamp cricket administration.
The 143 page judgement is unprecedented for any sports body in the country.
The court has shown a sharp understanding of two broad ills:
The concentration of power in the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India
The patronage extended by the office to favoured individuals who enjoy the President’s confidence.
The SC has asked BCCI to implement reforms in six months
The Supreme Court gave Parliament a role in determining
whether or not the Board should come within the folds of RTI,
whether to legalise sports betting or not
It did not curtail the Board’s ability to monetise and earn revenue through advertisements. This measure, more than any other, showcases the Court’s rational approach to the development of sports.
SC has never intervened in cricket or corruption in cricket till now. So, this was the first time and hence is a historic judgement. New people and new ideas have to come. Professionalism in administration is required. Transparency and accountability of association is basic right of the people. SC has termed all the associations, federations and BCCI as public servant. They may be private in nature, but they are performing a public functions. So, they are liable for IPC.
This may also encourage other sports bodies to look into their working and revamp their organisation if not in conformity with highest standards of administration
However, implementation is going to be a tough challenge ahead. The judgment said that the Lodha recommendations are ‘suggestions’ and the board has to implement it. There is no sanction behind anyone it.
In context of the same, BCCI has formed a new legal panel as “single point interface for the BCCI to interact with the Justice Lodha Committee”. Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju will head the panel.
A society company has to be brought in terms with Supreme Court’s verdict. This will involve complicated changes.
Also, there cases going against 70-80% member associations of BCCI. DDCA case, goa case etc. the problem is that whether these cases will be solved within six months or not according to recommendations.
The issue of age limit can be implemented across uniformly in all associations only if BCCI’s constitution says so.
Board may use proxies to keep its high profile members closer and control behind the scenes.
Cricket is a national sport and the BCCI, irrespective of its legal status, must act in a transparent and accountable manner as a trustee of the game. The need to do so is now even more important given the huge infusion of corporate funding in recent years, which has attracted an assortment of operators and shadowy interests seeking to capitalise on cricket’s popularity.
Connecting the dots:
Sports in India is an emerging area of development. Critically analyse how the latest SC direction to a leading cricket body to revamp its structure will affect sports development in India.
Spot fixing: the action or practice of dishonestly determining the outcome of a specific part of a match or game before it is played.
One state, different associations: states with more than one cricket association, as in the case of Gujarat (Saurashtra, Gujarat and Baroda) and Maharashtra (Mumbai, Maharashtra and Vidarbha), will have voting rights on a “rotational basis”—one at a time. The SC said that while Gujarat and Maharashtra can continue to have three associations, only one of them can vote at a time. State like Bihar has no board even when it is third most populist state. Though it had an association earlier, but after formation of Jharkhand, it was shifted as Jharkhand cricket board because the HQ was in Jamshedpur.
No sanction: suppose there is a law which says if you disobey a law, there will be punishment, fine, the way of enforcing etc. In this case, it is not known that if BCCI does not implement it, it will be contempt of court or not.