Conflict of interest, yet nobody cares
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Conflict of interest, yet nobody cares

Politics and sports are inextricably linked and anyone who pretends that the twain will never meet is living in a delusional world, writes Pradeep Magazine.

columns Updated: Apr 01, 2013 15:54 IST
Pradeep Magazine
Pradeep Magazine
Hindustan Times
politics and sports,IPL 6,Sri Lankan issue

Politics and sports are inextricably linked and anyone who pretends that the twain will never meet is living in a delusional world.

To a genuine sports fan, this may seem unjust and unfair, but the harsh reality is that states and governments across the globe have used sport to further their political agenda.

You might argue that when it is used as a tool to pressurise governments to correct their human rights record, like in the case of South Africa when it practiced Apartheid, a sporting ban is a justified means to achieve a just end.

In the context of say, Pakistan players not being allowed to play in India, we protest saying why penalise a sport and its players for the wrongdoings of a state.

The lines get further blurred and even confused when the same people in India, who justify the ban on Pakistan players, speak against Tamil Nadu imposing a similar ban on Sri Lanka players on the grounds of state-sponsored "genocide" on Tamils in that country.

It becomes more of a quandary when applied to a commercial venture like the IPL, even though it is being held in the garb of a sporting event.

No logic
Even more incomprehensible is the IPL governing council's decision to let Chennai be the venue but force teams not to play the Lanka players there.

Why should the team owners, who are paying millions to these players, accept this bizarre condition which will affect their team's performance in the tournament?

An obvious solution would have been not to have Chennai as a venue at all and shift the matches to be played there to some other city, as has been done very often in the brief history of the tournament. The answer to why it was not done in this case is simple enough.

The IPL is run by the Board and its president is the owner of the Chennai team. What is in his interest may not be in the interest of the IPL and other team owners.

But as long as the decision-making powers vest in him, he is going to do what suits his needs and not that of a tournament.

This is a conflict of interest which has been written and debated about often enough, but no one seems to care, least of all a Board which has around 31 voting units and many powerful politicians and businessmen as its members.

Why even they should remain silent and not protest is baffling to say the least.

First Published: Mar 30, 2013 00:18 IST