BCCI forms group to study Lodha panel order on IPL betting scandal
Indian Premier League's (IPL's) governing council decided on Sunday to form a working group that will study the Lodha committee's order on a betting scandal in the cash-rich tournament.
The decision was taken at a meeting in Mumbai where members discussed the implications of the verdict that suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from the domestic T20 league for two years.
The Justice Lodha Committee was constituted by the Supreme Court in January this year to announce the quantum of punishment against Gurunath Meiyappan, the former team principal of CSK, Raj Kundra, co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, and the two franchisees -- India Cements Ltd, owner of CSK, and Jaipur IPL, owner of the Royals.
The BCCI said that it will adhere to the verdict in totality. The board will make public the names of the working group members on Monday. The board said the recommendations of the group -- which will function under the chairmanship of politician Rajeev Shukla -- will be sent to the BCCI's all-powerful working committee.
"BCCI respects the verdict of the Lodha commission and will abide by their decisions, in toto. The members recognised that there is an urgent need to understand the impact of this decision and the wider ramifications for BCCI in detail, so as to uphold the paramountcy of the game in our country," BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said in a statement after the meeting that lasted little over an hour.
"This group will work within a time-bound period of six weeks and report their recommendations to the IPL GC (governing council), which will deliberate and share their views with the working committee of the BCCI for further action," the statement added.
Shukla, who is also the chairman of IPL, said, "House has entrusted me with responsibility to make a small group that will take six weeks to submit a report as to how we implement the order and way forward for IPL. How to conduct IPL, how many teams and all stakeholders CAC members, sponsors, broadcasters, state associations, legal experts that report will come to governing council..."
"All stakeholders have given their opinion, everybody is of the view that the show must go on. And I reiterate that IPL 9 will be bigger and greater."
Shukla, however, refused to reveal the details of Sunday's meeting and took a jibe at former BCCI president Shashank Manohar for demanding that Chennai and Rajasthan be terminated.
"We cannot divulge the deliberations of the meeting. A sub-group has been constituted which will recommend what needs to be done.
"A Supreme Court-appointed committee has deliberated on it (the IPL scandal) and after it has given its verdict, I don't think there is scope for anybody else to comment," he said.
The Lodha panel's decision is seen as a big blow to Indian cricket’s showpiece event that brought glamour and big bucks to Indian cricket. It also puts a question mark on the future of dozens of cricketers playing in the two teams and is expected to dent the tournaments massive sponsorship and TV rights revenues.
In the verdict, Justice RM Lodha, former Chief Justice of India, also said that the BCCI was free to terminate the indicted franchises. Lodha's clarification came in the wake of some confusion over the committee's proposal, specifically over the extent to which the BCCI can act against the two franchises as follow-up to the committee's decision.
Clause 11.3 (c) of the BCCI-IPL franchise agreement says the agreement can be terminated if "the Franchise, any Franchise Group Company and/or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the League, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/or the game of cricket."
BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya skipped Sunday's meeting as he is indisposed, while Ajay Shirke, Ravi Shastri and Jyotiraditya Scindia joined through video-conferencing.