Just when the cricket Board felt it was steering clear of conflict of interest, it was faced with it on Tuesday after announcing the two new Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises. The man in focus was former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, after Kolkata tycoon, Sanjiv Goenka, successfully bid for the Pune franchise.
Ganguly and Goenka are co-owners of the Indian Super League’s Atletico de Kolkata team. The former being a member of the IPL governing council may decide on issues involving Goenka’s team, New Rising.
BCCI president, Shashank Manohar, who has taken a firm stand on conflict of interest after it badly hurt the governing body’s image in the wake of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, however rejected any suggestions that Ganguly faced conflict of interest.
“As far as I understand, Ganguly has no conflict of interest. If he would have been involved with any (IPL) team, it would have been different. I think a lot of people are not understanding what conflict of interest means,” Manohar told a news conference.
“Suppose I am a lawyer and have a client. If that client at some later point gets associated with the BCCI, how is it a conflict of interest? It can only be a conflict if someone in his position shows bias. I think this is now being taken to an absurd level,” he said.
“In this case, the bid has been given by New Rising; it was a closed bid with which Ganguly had nothing to do. So I don’t see any conflict.”
However, Manohar left the final word on potential conflict of interest issues to the BCCI’s ombudsman Justice (retd) AP Shah.
It was conflict of interest that led to the ouster of former BCCI president N Srinivasan, and the Board has issued elaborate directives to the state units, players and officials. That means the issue may not subside easily.