It seems that even Supreme Court’s warning, just three days ago, of “either fall in line or we will make you fall in line” was not enough to shake the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The Indian cricket board on Saturday held one of its marathon meetings to discuss the implementation of the Lodha Committee’s first set timeline during the Special General Meeting here at the Cricket Centre which was adjourned on Friday due to improper authorisation letter of some members. The outcome of the more than six hours meeting might not impress the Supreme Court.
Though the BCCI, who has to respond to Lodha Committee’s status report in the apex court by October 6, in its press release stated that they have unanimously adopted “important recommendations”, they have conveniently rejected some major reforms which could change the landscape of cricket in India.
Key recommendations like 70-age cap on administrators, nine-year tenure with cooling period after every term and the one state, one vote policy has been rejected by the BCCI.
Even the recommendations which have been accepted (see box) are with “certain modifications”. It is learnt that the BCCI is willing to form the Apex Council which will replace the all-powerful working committee, but they do not want the representatives (one male cricketer and one female) of the Player Association on the Apex Council.
“The members were also unanimous in giving voting rights to the Associate members as per the ICC guidelines,” the BCCI release stated. The ICC guidelines are that the votes have to be divided in 3:1 ratio. Three Associate and Affiliate members form one vote in the ICC.
Vidarbha Cricket Association, who on Saturday unanimously adopted the new Memorandum of Association and constitution as per the Lodha Committee recommendations, asked for a leave from the SGM which was granted by the BCCI.
BCCI president Anurag Thakur said the members rejected other recommendations. “Some recommendations which they felt would not be possible to implement due to legal challenges or practical difficulties were not accepted. A detailed report will be submitted in the Supreme Court and sent to Lodha Committee on what the members have felt and (highlight the) difficulties on why some recommendations were not accepted. As per the BCCI’s structure, it is the members who form the board. It is up to the members to accept or reject. We just invited them to discuss the recommendations,” said Thakur.
The BCCI was supposed to adopt the new draft memorandum as proposed by the Lodha Committee by September 30 as per the deadline. Thakur, however, justified that that the BCCI has not missed any deadline. “We have adhered to the deadline,” he said before dashing off.
BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke said the BCCI has done its best to implement the reforms recommended. “It is important to note that the BCCI falls under the societies act and has to adhere to the provisions of the act. Under the act, a 3/4th majority is required to reach a consensus.
“We tried to take the horse to the water. We have accepted unanimously a number of recommendations except a few. If the panel or the apex court deems it as contempt or anything else, we are open to their judgment. If they want to remove us from our posts, we will do so happily with our heads held high, knowing well that we tried our best to get the recommendations implemented,” Shirke told Hindustan Times.
The BCCI in its release stated that the “effort to ensure a 15-day gap between the national calendar and the IPL – the same will not be possible in the year 2017 because of the ICC’s Champions Trophy being scheduled in England at around the same time.”
The BCCI’s latest act of defiance has left them in more vulnerable in front of the Supreme Court now.