Ridden by conflict of interest, BCCI lets fans down again

  • Sukhwant Basra, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Jul 22, 2015 10:26 IST

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has had enough time to put its house in order. Its wizened administrators who never seem to fade away had ample opportunity to censor the likes of Raj Kundra and Gurunath Meiyappan. But they needed the court to tell them right from wrong. The Supreme Court of this country had to strike down the controversial amendment to rule 6.2.4 of the Board’s constitution that allowed its administrators to hold a commercial stake in the Indian Premier League. The Board itself was unable to see this blatant travesty of logic. Now, with the Justice Lodha committee scrutinising the functioning of the BCCI in order to provide a roadmap for the future, we have the Board forming a tame committee to make its own roadmap for the IPL. Really?

After a strong indictment by the Mudgal and Lodha committees, logic again demanded that the BCCI come to its senses. It’s practical to beat a tactical retreat in the face of obvious exposure and universal condemnation. But it is increasingly clear that logic has little to do with the running of this old boys’ club. Instead, it seems to be a long drawn game of cat and mouse wherein fans can squirm as much as they want while the fat cats of the BCCI look out for each other and maintain the status quo.

The outcome of the IPL Governing Council meeting suggests that there is little stomach for decisions that will serve as a harsh example to future wrongdoers. Voices within the body asking for firm action were sidelined and instead another committee has been formed. So, a smaller bunch of guys from the same group will now submit a report after six weeks. It is difficult to swallow IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla’s assertion that this outcome is not just a delaying tactic, isn’t it?

Further, even as the BCCI is fine with forever banning Kundra and Gurunath, isn’t it even a wee bit curious about how these two got the information that fuelled their bets? A team owner—and despite all the ‘Meiyappan is an enthusiast’ rubbish the Lodha committee at least established that for certain—isn’t naïve enough to blow money on a chance outcome. These guys had to be getting information from the players. Isn’t it pertinent to figure just who was the source?

Then, a captain stands exposed. Didn’t MS Dhoni agree with a host of other Chennai Super Kings officials deposing to the Mudgal Committee that Meyiappan was just an enthusiast? The captain of the Indian cricket team is a major stakeholder in the faith and trust fans have in the team. This trust has been violated. Dhoni’s conduct must be censured.

Conflict of interest

The conspiracy runs deep with multitude conflict of interest issues. And former players who love to give their opinion on all matters cricket are curiously silent on the issue. After all, the BCCI decides who will commentate on TV and these guys are far too enamoured by the mega bucks to say anything that may upset their cozy little arrangement.

I fear Indian cricket does not have the will to clear its much-littered house. The proceedings of the IPL Governing Council just go to show that the only hope of a broom finding all the junk in this body rests with the SC appointed committees looking into the mess. Self censorship seems to be a lost cause. Despite the Mudgal committee’s severe censorship of IPL COO Sundar Raman, this man was still present at the GC meeting. Sigh! These fellows just don’t seem to understand conflict of interest, do they?

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