Shah Rukh Khan can sit in the dugout and chat with players in the dressing room after all.
A day after the Kolkata IPL team owner was prevented from entering the dressing room by security men citing ICC rules, the Indian cricket board that runs the IPL announced that all eight team owners will be given a badge each, which will allow them access to the dugouts and dressing rooms.
“We had already provided such badges to Preity Zinta (owner of the Mohali team) and Vijay Mallya (Bangalore) as we had received requests from them in advance,” said IPL chairman Lalit Modi in Mumbai. In addition, four more similar passes will be given to each team on the condition that people holding them can sit at the dugout one at a time for a maximum 15 minutes.
This followed an angry reaction from SRK who said that nothing can stop him from meeting his players — not even the ICC.
Interestingly, contrary to claims of IPL officials, sources in the ICC denied that the cricket’s world governing body had a role in the episode. They said it was up to the BCCI on what rules it follows. “This is a private tournament and if the BCCI officials want to implement ICC anti-corruption rules they have to enforce them. It’s not our responsibility to see whether these rules are being properly followed,” an ICC source told HT from its Dubai headquarters.
The BCCI had said earlier that ICC rules would be in place and after hiring its own security people for the tournament, had sought the help of the ICC's anti-corruption unit (ACU) to brief them. It was learnt that after updating these security men about what's on and not, ACU officials pointed out to them that letting the owner of the team, Shah Rukh, in was a violation of its rules. On the basis of this, the actor was prevented from entering the dressing room during Sunday's match.
In matches or tournaments held under the aegis of ICC, only the players, support staff, umpires and a liaison officer are allowed to enter the dressing room.
The ICC allows 15 players and eight officials, though the number of these officials can be increased if a team has more than eight persons in the support staff. An ICC source said the "IPL is violating the ICC ACU rules with impunity, but that is not our concern". Since the IPL is run by the BCCI, it can have its own rules.
Such rules vary in other sports. While team owners like Mallya can visit Formula One's equivalent of the dressing room during Grand Prix races and be in most other places, in football there is a strict restriction on the number of people on the reserve bench. In the I-League, 18 players and five officials are allowed, while in bigger events like the World Cup, this figure is 23 plus 12.