If India’s cricket board has not been shaken as much as other sports bodies by the demand for accountability, it is essentially due to the power and independence it enjoys because of the riches in its coffers.
The Indian Olympic Association still remains suspended by the International
Olympic Committee pending its overhaul and setting in place good administrative measures.
However, going by the manner in which N Srinivasan managed to snuff out dissidence and get re-elected as president, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) showed that it would take much more to force reform in its ranks.
With serious charges framed against his son-in-law by the Mumbai Police in its betting case related to the IPL spot-fixing scam, it was imperative Srinivasan stepped down to allow an impartial probe.
But the BCCI constitution allows the president to be re-elected with the backing of two state units from the zone whose turn it is to pick the candidate. This can only perpetuate one-man shows because once elected, he can show his gratitude by picking office-bearers from among those who supported him.
If Srinivasan is still kept away from active administration, it is because of the Supreme Court, which will decide on the petition that seeks the forming of a new, impartial committee to probe corruption allegations in the IPL, including those related to Gurunath Meiyappan.
The apex court has said Srinivasan should stay away from all affairs concerning the IPL. But the big question is whether it is possible. The franchise league is run by the BCCI, which appoints every important official tasked to govern the league.
The revenue generated from the league is again fed into the board’s account and distributed to state associations with only a certain percentage going to the franchises. Thus the firm hand of the BCCI chief will always determine every twist and turn the league takes.
It will be possible to keep a BCCI president from influencing the IPL only if the league is structured as an independent body, like the English Premier League. Otherwise, even if Srinivasan stays out, the IPL will be controlled by his hand-picked men. That is a far from ideal situation.
The BCCI bounced back after the 2000 spot-fixing scandal, and 13 years, later it appears no administrator — it has already banned four players — will be held accountable for the latest corruption scandal.
It is important that the Board be forced to bring in transparency in the way it is run. Otherwise, the credibility of the game will be eroded while the rich and the influential run the body as they please.