Srinivasan case influences BCCI’s new conflict of interest rules

  • Jasvinder Sidhu, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 22, 2015 01:17 IST
Virat Kohli (left) and MS Dhoni are alleged to have interests in player management firms that managed accounts of India players. (AFP Photo)

The Indian cricket Board made its rules on conflict of interest public on Saturday. These rules cover administrators, former and current players as well as other custodians of the BCCI.

However, the most affected are the former players, and all blame for their plight is being laid on former BCCI chief N Srinivasan, who dragged in all big names of the game and their ‘dual roles’ in the Board and in the IPL while defending himself in the Supreme Court in December to save his IPL team, Chennai Super Kings.

According to sources, BCCI rules regarding conflict of interest for former players clearly reflect the arguments and submissions made by Srinivasan’s lawyer, Kapil Sibal, in the Apex court on December 1.

Dragging in others

During his forceful bid to justify Srinivasan’s position as IPL team owner in the conflict of interest case, before the Apex court bench of Justices TS Thakur and Ibrahim Kalifulla, Sibal argued that former players like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Lalchand Rajput and Krishnamachari Srikkanth had dual roles, in the BCCI and IPL. Sibal mentioned the names of many others who he said were wearing ‘many hats’.

As per the new guidelines, former cricketers who are on the payroll of the BCCI or holding contracts with it should not be on any Board committee, including the IPL Governing Council (GC). Also, former cricketers appointed as coaches of India teams or as national selectors shall not be associated in any form with a player management company or player agent, be it honorary or paid.

Shastri, a member of the GC since the first IPL edition, has already become the first casualty ---he was removed as he is the India team director --- and there are many others who are likely to be affected, including Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar is a mentor with Mumbai Indians and is also a member of the high-profile cricket advisory committee of the BCCI, which also has Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman.

Gavaskar is co-owner of sports management company, Professional Management Group (PMG). PMG recently signed up Royal Challengers Bangalore as well as Uttar Pradesh batsman, Sarfaraz Khan.

Former India skipper Ganguly, who heads the Bengal association, is now an IPL GC member besides being part of the cricket advisory committee.

Another former captain Rahul Dravid is the coach of India U-19 and A sides. He was also a mentor in the now suspended Rajasthan Royals. Anil Kumble owns a player management company besides being a key member of the Mumbai Indians.

As all these new guidelines are now being implemented, it will be interesting to see the structure of all BCCI committees.

In his final bid to save Srinivasan’s interests, Sibal had argued that conflict of interest was a reality of life and exists in any number of situations, and is at times unavoidable. But what was important was that the rules should provide for resolving the conflict.

Citing conflict of interest rules in various sports bodies, Sibal argued that unless conflict of interest was palpable, there was no room for any resolution; the rule (BCCI rule amendment which allowed Srinivasan to own an IPL team) cannot and should not be struck down simply because it may give rise to a conflict of interest at any time in the future.

However, the judges were not convinced.

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