A threat to the existing structure is a challenge to various vested interest groups and that can only be fought back and resisted by closing ranks. The Justice Lodha panel recommendations, if implemented in toto, are one such threat that the Indian Board has now decided to challenge in the court.
Not even a stern reprimand, or call it a warning from the Chief Justice of India, to “fall in line” has had a salutary effect on the Board functionaries. Far from falling in line, they have a long list of grievances and are now going to put forth their reasons why they have problems with certain clauses which they believe would be detrimental to the Board’s functioning.
A cursory look at their objections makes it clear that most of them are related to those clauses that would curtail and even eliminate powerful lobbies that have ruled the board regardless of which individual has been in power. The limitations imposed on age and tenure are going to make a few individuals who have been controlling power, either in the state units or in the apex body, redundant. Hence it will be resisted strongly.
So would the one man, one post recommendation, as its elimination means a loss of dual control – at the state as well as the Board.
Imagine a Board official, and there are many, having to make a choice between his state and the BCCI? They derive their power from the state, which helps extend their fiefdom across the country. Cut off from their parent wing, they will find themselves floating in a vacuum and become very insecure. They don’t realise the inherent conflict of interest in holding on to these dual posts and the harm it does to decision-making.
The argument put forth against ‘one state, one vote’ is that it strikes at the heart of the Board tradition and will deprive many states of the power and prestige they hold by virtue of the historic role they have played in the BCCI’s formation.
Traditionalists find this argument not without merit, regardless of the fact that this arrangement tilts the balance of power in the Board towards select regional groupings at the cost of others. That the very basis of this voting pattern is undemocratic means nothing to them.
In any case, a body which over the years has shown scant respect for many cricketing traditions and gone for drastic changes in the way cricket is structured and played to all of a sudden show deep love for preserving administrative traditions is, to say the least, very touching!
There could be certain minor administrative problems that the Lodha committee may have overlooked while formulating its recommendations. But to challenge the very core of its suggestions and allow its state units to also flood the Supreme Court with objections is nothing but delaying tactics, in the hope that they can stall the implementation of these much-needed reforms. There is little doubt in the minds of many sports lovers and administrators who don’t derive their sustenance from the Board that the Lodha recommendations are an exemplary template for sports bodies to follow across India.