Faced with probably the most challenging situation in their history after having come under fire from the Supreme Court, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) game plan is simple — leave it to their members, the state cricket associations, to decide by majority.
In keeping with this line, all the full members of the BCCI will be converging in the capital on Saturday evening for the Special General Meeting to deliberate on Apex Court’s ultimatum to them. The court seeks an undertaking from the state bodies, asking them to adopt the Lodha-committee recommendations.
Among the key suggestions that the SC appointed three-man committee have made are the one-state one-vote rule, three-year cooling-off period for officials before taking up another post in BCCI and the tenure of officials.
Each of the recommendations have been discussed threadbare in the last SGM, so this time it will be about the top BCCI functionaries detailing to the members instructions given by SC on October 7.
The Supreme Court’s next hearing is fixed for October 17, when it is expected to pass the order.
Board insiders say there is unlikely to be a change in BCCI’s stance. In the SGM on October 1, the members voted against the age restriction of 70 years for board officials, the tenure cap of nine years with cooling-off periods and the one-state-one-vote policy.
The court has tried to exert pressure by barring the BCCI from releasing any more funds to its state associations that don’t comply, and also barring them from using the funds distributed as share of the Champions League pay-out by the broadcaster.
The state units are unfazed by the threat of even their accounts being frozen. If worse comes to worst, they will stop cricketing activities, they say.
One of the main points of discussion will be President Anurag Thakur’s affidavit to be submitted in the court on whether he had asked the ICC to write that Lodha recommendations amounted to government interference.
It will depend on how the BCCI legal team, which is preparing the affidavit, phrases it. According to an insider, they are expected to stick to the line – “Thakur was only following up on former president Shashank Manohar’s earlier plea wherein he (Manohar) had stated that the appointment of CAG representative in Apex Council will mean interference”.
Apart from informing the members of the Supreme Court’s directives, the SGM is important for the BCCI leadership to keep the flock together.
While those who stand to lose the voting rights, like the Western state associations, the three institutional teams and Cricket Club of India and NCC, need no convincing about resisting the changes, the others may have doubts. However, most of the top office bearers of other state associations too stand to lose personally due to the cooling off period or the age cap of 70, hence would be happy standing united against the reforms.