The BCCI has sent a “reminder” to the Lodha Committee, seeking approval/clarification on the payments to be made to Rajasthan. The cricket board fears that without funds, Rajasthan’s cricket season would come to a premature halt, for the Ranji Trophy side and other age-group teams are “severely cash-strapped”. According to BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, without funds the various Rajasthan sides won’t be able to play the next round of matches in their respective tournaments.
Rajasthan’s next Ranji Trophy fixture, against Karnataka, is scheduled from November 13 at Vizianagaram. The BCCI’s original letter in this regard went “a few days back”.
The “reminder” was sent on Wednesday evening and the board is awaiting a response from the panel. “I have sent a separate letter about Rajasthan. If the payments are not made, it’s very unlikely that the Rajasthan team can play their next round of Ranji Trophy matches. The team is seriously cash-strapped. In fact, not only the Ranji team, their Under-19 side and other age-group teams will also suffer. I don’t know if they can play without money. And not only players and officials’ payments, a substantial amount of logistics is also involved with every game – from hotel stay to other arrangements,” Shirke told The Indian Express.
The BCCI suspended the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) after the banned Lalit Modi was elected as the state association president. The RCA filed an application before the Rajasthan High Court, challenging the decision, but suspension stayed. The court directed the cricket board to form a committee to safeguard players’ interest. The committee was empowered to run Rajasthan cricket. The Supreme Court’s October 21 order, however, said that the BCCI couldn’t make payments to any state association on any ground whatsoever. So, the BCCI seeks clarification from Lodha Committee about its future course of action.
“Although we are not making payments for these matches to the RCA, in books of accounts the entry recorded is that the account debited is that of the state association. These are expenses that normally the association incurs. Because of the suspension and the High Court order, the BCCI has been told to pay the players/officials/support staff directly. But after the Supreme Court order, if we make these payments, that might be interpreted (by the Committee) as an indirect payment to the RCA. So we might be in contempt,” Shirke explained.
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Asked about the content of the letter, he said: “In our letter to the committee, we simply said that these are the two court orders, and if the payments are not made, cricket would suffer. So you please take a decision and inform us, whether we can continue to pay the players and officials. We haven’t received a reply yet.”
A Rajasthan cricket insider informed they have “only a few crores” in the bank but the money is used “for conducting local tournaments”. “As for the national-level tournaments, the BCCI looks after everything,” he said demanding anonymity.