by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Did Supreme Court overcook BCCI with Lodha Committee

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is not a newfangled institution.  It has a eight decade history – having its origins in 1928 with it being registered in Tamil Nadu (then called Presidency of Madras) under Societies Registration Act (of either 1860 or 1908, which is unclear).  And contrary to present public perception, ‘there are no values in the Board’, were the words of Ghulam Ahmed (Test Player 1948-59 & Secretary, BCCI 1975-80).

But Cricket is the only sports in India which is/was being managed without 'official' government interference.  Run like a Non-Governmental Organisation, the BCCI for all its bungling, arrogance, controversies, nepotism, backstabbing, has managed to build up impressive infrastructure.  Somehow, they also managed to find the time to unearth and nurture cricket talent in between.  Cricket is the only sports in which India has World Quality players.  Every other sport in India is managed-organised by Government through Sports Ministry and its officials, and equally mismanaged, have not much talent to boast.

After the IPL controversy, enter the Lodha Committee tasked by the Supreme Court to ‘set right’ the problems.  As usual, whenever a Commission or Committee get in, it becomes a total cluster-chuck, and in the next 5 years, we probably are going to ape the West Indian Cricket board to ruin. Having said that, the BCCI is not totally blameless. Their refusal to adhere to:
  • age cap (suggested in Sep 2011),
  • tenure cap (suggested in Feb 2010),
  • one post cap (suggested in 2 above),
  • under RTI (Right to Information Act) (suggested in 1 above),
  • bar on tainted people,
  • independent auditor,
  • separation of governing councils for BCCI & IPL, and
  • Ethics Office watchdog for Conflicts of Interest,
are wrong and not good business practice.

But the other four important recommendations –
  • no politician (or government official) to hold office,
  • one state one vote,
  • CAG as auditor, and
  • banning commercial breaks on TV
– are simply overreach.  We will take up each issue, from bottoms up to see why.

Banning commercial breaks or advertisement during Live TV broadcast is the most idiotic, backward looking, uncommercial, financially crippling, and ruinous recommendation ever.  It does not need any rebuttal at all. 

Appointing CAG as the auditor for Sports Bodies is totally repugnant.  We should be moving towards an economic model where the governments should worry only about Defence, Money, Energy, Infrastructure, Education, Healthcare, and Environment.  Instead we are looking at imposing more government - on sports!

One state one vote might seem like a good idea.  After all why should a State like Gujarat (pop 62 m) have three full voting members – Gujarat, Baroda & Saurashtra - while Tamil Nadu (pop 77 m) has only one?  Or Telengana (pop 39 m) has none, but Mumbai (pop 12 m) has one?  But since 2000, in Ranji Trophy -
  • Baroda have been finalists thrice, versus
  • 4 runners up for Tamil Nadu,
  • twice for Saurashtra, while
  • Mumbai have won it 8 times
There are two other issues, that of Women’s Cricket which BCCI has consistently treated in a step-motherly fashion, and legalisation of Betting (suggested earlier), of which the first, hopefully would be corrected, and the second never,

Last, if politicians or government officials are to be barred from holding office in BCCI (& in future in all Sports Bodies), how come retired Judges can?  Does it mean that the Legislature and Executive cannot be trusted to act ethically, while the Judiciary can be?  Isn’t that itself prejudice? 

N. Srinivasan must be laughing his head off.


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