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Supreme Court bars BCCI from releasing funds to state cricket associations

The Supreme Court barred the Indian cricket board on Friday from releasing funds to state associations, adding that the bodies that have already received money cannot use it until they file affidavits guaranteeing to abide by Lodha panel recommendations on reforms.

cricket Updated: Oct 08, 2016 00:48 IST
Bhadra Sinha
The Supreme Court barred the Indian cricket board on Friday from releasing funds to state units.
The Supreme Court barred the Indian cricket board on Friday from releasing funds to state units.

The Supreme Court barred the Indian cricket board on Friday from releasing funds to state units and directed those who have received money not to use it until they agree to implement the Lodha panel’s recommendations on reforms “in letter and spirit”.

Issuing an interim order after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) refused to provide assurance that it would comply with the panel’s directives, the court said 13 state units that received money on September 30 will keep it in a fixed deposit until they give the affidavit. The SC didn’t order the BCCI top brass to step aside as anticipated, but struck a blow by freezing funds to force the state units to fall in line, which could potentially force the parent body to end its defiance.

Friday’s order was the latest in the face-off between the judiciary and the BCCI which has been accused of cherry-picking directives made by the Supreme Court-appointed panel.

The BCCI’s refusal to accept the reforms has worsened the stand-off with the apex court and threatened to disrupt India’s most popular sport.

However, the fund freeze may not affect the state units’ functioning immediately as they are believed to have substantial money in their accounts with the BCCI having released huge sums in August. But the ongoing Ranji Trophy tournament could be disrupted if they plead financial crunch.

Warning the board of precipitating the issue further, the bench ordered BCCI president Anurag Thakur to explain whether he had asked the International Cricket Council for a letter to state that the Lodha panel’s suggestions tantamount to government interference in the working of the Indian board and could lead to its disqualification from international cricket.

Read: Why BCCI is against implementing key Lodha panel reforms

After the order was pronounced, BCCI’s counsel said the board was not running away from the reforms but faced technical impediments.

“We will remove all the technical impediments. It’s not pleasant for us,” the bench replied, giving the board time till October 17 to file an affidavit.

BCCI general manager (cricket operation), Ratnakar Shetty, was also directed to file an affidavit disclosing who authorised him to file documents on behalf of the board before the panel.