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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Enough in reserve, state associations don’t lose sleep over cash freeze

Supreme Court barred the BCCI from releasing funds to 12 state associations if the Lodha committee reforms are not fully implemented.

Written by Devendra Pandey , Shamik Chakrabarty | Indore | Updated: October 18, 2016 12:43:12 pm
thakur-m BCCI president Anurag Thakur keeps a tab on the news at his residence in New Delhi. (Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Their funding might have been stopped by the Supreme Court, which closed down the BCCI money-tap until they accept the structural reforms, but many state associations are in a defiant mood. Most big associations told The Indian Express that they would wait for the final order on October 17, and won’t be queuing up now in court to agree to reforms.

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The recent inflow of money transferred might have been frozen, and future funding might have been threatened, but the big associations have enough money in the coffers currently, and are not facing any financial strain. A couple of smaller associations like Orissa and Goa would face financial crunch if the inflows stop, and the associations with long-running disputes — Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir and Delhi- would expectedly face issues.

“We will not implement Lodha recommendations, as everyone feels that some of the reforms are impossible to accept. If Supreme Court feels that BCCI should implement then they should just pass an order. We members feel the recommendations are hard and can’t be fully accepted. Our decision remains the same today,” a member of state association told this paper. Similar sentiments were shared by most big associations.

Supreme Court on Friday barred the BCCI from releasing funds to 12 state associations if the Lodha committee reforms are not fully implemented, and also stated that they must pass a resolution to agree for reforms or no funds will be disbursed to the state bodies.

The BCCI too struck a strident note in their response to the day’s developments. In a text message, BCCI president Anurag Thakur said that he will be calling a meeting of all associations to discuss.

Post the BCCI SGM, Thakur had said that he is just convener of the meeting and its members will decide whether to oppose or to accept recommendation of Lodha panel. As it turned out, the SGM of the BCCI didn’t accept most of the key structural reforms, and wanted some modifications even in the ones they accepted.

The secretary Ajay Shirke told this paper that the board would not be giving money to few errant associations who haven’t complied with internal audits, and will inform the rest about the SC directions.

“There are some associations that are not meeting the BCCI guidelines of audit, accounts, internal audits and forensic audit. We are not going give them the money anyway. There’s no need of any court direction in that regard. As far as the other associations who are not in compliance (with the Lodha panel recommendations), we will forward the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court order to them, will get the feedbacks from them and will submit the documents,” Shirke told The Indian Express.

The money trail

Over the years, the BCCI has ensured the associations receive generous cash flow. The financial structure is simple. In their annual general body meeting, the BCCI decides the pass on a certain amount of money as advance to each association.

For instance, if BCCI decides on Rs 25 crores as subsidy than board will issue Rs 8-10 crores as advance. The associations can claim the rest of the money after they submit their balance sheet.

The increase in subsidy has come from the revenue generated by the board, and in particular the money outflow from the board to associations increased from 2005 onwards when Sharad Pawar was the president. The subsidy first increased to Rs 25 crores and reached Rs 50 crores in a few years. The cash reserves have obviously increased over time – from Saurashtra who have a whopping Rs 192 crores in reserve to Uttar Pradesh who have Rs 40 crores. Mumbai have Rs 162 crore, Baroda Rs 105 crores, Vidarbha Rs 85 crores.

Disputed units in trouble

Associations in legal trouble like Jammu Kashmir Cricket Association, with internal disputes, and Rajasthan Cricket Association, which was suspended by BCCI three years ago, will be expectedly in trouble.

J&K association has been faced with internal faction fights and BCCI had stopped giving subsidies to J&K since 2011. They can’t use the funds – they have 40 crores- from their fixed deposit due to a stay order of High Court. However, to enable cricket to be played and cricketers don’t suffer due to this impasse, the BCCI has been bearing the expenses of players for all tournaments. From now, they have said they would reimburse the expenses.

“After today’s developments, we don’t know whether this stopping of funds will apply to cricketers’s day to day expenses. Till last year the board did everything for us but now we were told that we will be getting reimbursement of our tickets and other expenses,” JKCA general secretary Iqbal Ahmed Shah said. “Anyway we are not getting money, we need more clarity from the board now I’m hoping BCCI will call a meeting soon on this,” Shah added.

Meanwhile Rajasthan, who was suspended by the board three years ago after RCA elected Lalit Modi as their president, says they are managing it somehow. Rajasthan too have about 5 crores in reserves. “We are not getting money from board, somehow we are managing by breaking our fixed deposit. I just hope the ban is lifted soon,” said RCA secretary Sumendra Tiwari.

Smaller fish

Expectedly, the smaller associations like Orissa and Goa have expressed their fears about money crunch, affecting the running of the cricket in the state.

“Stopping of funds will affect us instantly, because of our current cash-flow situation. Ranji Trophy matches are being played at neutral venues. The junior teams are playing. We have to take care of everything; from logistics to match preparation. Also, we are building a new club house at the Barabati Stadium. Still 15 per cent work remains to be finished. The work could be stalled,” Orissa Cricket Association secretary Ashirwad
Behera told this paper.

It was a sentiment that was shared by the Goa association as well.

“Goa Cricket Association is not getting the regular grants from the BCCI. Staff salary is running on a two-month backlog. Without the BCCI money, survival would be almost impossible. And not only the GCA, apart from a few big state associations like Mumbai, everyone will suffer,” former GCA president Shekhar Salkar said.

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