The Board for Cricket Control of India (BCCI) told the Supreme Court on Monday that it was facing technical difficulties in implementing the verdict ordering administrative reforms in the body because three-fourths of the state associations were unwilling to comply with the Justice RM Lodha panel’s recommendations.
BCCI lawyer, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, sought more time to persuade the state units, a plea the court rejected. After hearing the two-hour long arguments on appointing administrators to oversee the richest cricket board, the bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur reserved its verdict.
“We had a meeting on Saturday. We could not agree. We need three-fourths majority. The state associations are not willing. We ideally like to have it (majority). We don’t want to defy,” Sibal told the court.
Sibal again attempted to convince the court that states such as Manipur or Arunachal Pradesh do not deserve voting rights because there were no cricketing activities in these states and no sponsor would invest there.
“In Arunachal Pradesh where is cricket?’ he asked, prompting the CJI to remark: “The real problem is you don’t want to give it to the Northeast.”
Sibal said permitting Arunachal Pradesh to vote will not ensure transparency. “Nobody will spend a rupee in Arunachal Pradesh …… How is it going to ensure transparency?” he wondered.
He said the board didn’t mind the Lodha panel running cricket. “If the committee wants to run cricket, let it do so. But this (running the cricket board) is not part of the judgement,” he argued.
Referring to the panel’s recommendation to have a 15-day gap between IPL matches and national/international fixtures, Sibal asked the court: “How does it matter or ensure transparency if there is a 15-day gap between the IPL and national calendar?”
The Apex Court will take up on Tuesday BCCI’s review petition opposing the implementation of the Lodha report to first decide whether it merits hearing. The plea also seeks the recusal of CJI Thakur.