WHEN asked about what he thought of the Lodha committee report that rocked the BCCI in many ways on Monday, a high-ranking senior official’s response was, “Just throw it in the bin”. For obvious reasons, he wasn’t ready to come on record. But it’s likely that most of his colleagues too would have had similarly angsty intentions about dealing with the recommendations that the Supreme Court appointed panel dished out to them. What’s more annoying for the BCCI is that they can’t wish it away this time. There’s too much at stake, and all eyes are on them to see how they deal with the latest hurdle to have come their way.
While Lodha was laying down the law in Delhi, most of the board’s who’s who were on their way to Mumbai for the annual BCCI awards ceremony. But the ceremony will be the last thing occupying their mind as they get into the proverbial huddle at their headquarters over the next couple of days.
The procedure will be as expected. A committee shall be appointed, which will be empowered to analyze the Lodha panel report in detail and see whether the BCCI has a way out. That particular committee’s observations will then be discussed during a special general body meeting, which will take the final call.
While the report has a number of proposals that could change the very way the BCCI has functioned so unhindered for close to eight decades, there are two in particular that would have ruffled the feathers of the present regime more than others. The first obviously to do with the ‘one state, one vote’ recommendation and the other being the issue regarding a restriction on the tenures of office-bearers.
Chopping their own feet
If they were to implement the committee’s suggestion that puts a gag on the longevity of their stints at the helm of affairs, then based on the many criteria points mentioned in the report, it will be a case of chopping their own feet off.
“We have a number of those who are past 70, and there are senior-ranking officials who have been around for decades. Are you saying, we should allow our hierarchy to be wiped out overnight? There will be hardly anyone left with any experience to run the board then,” as one official explained.
There had been worries in the BCCI camp that the panel could come up with suggestions that will have an impact on their very foundations, and those fears have come true in a fashion they might not have imagined.
For starters, if only one association is allowed to represent each state then you will have a likely situation where the board president will hail from an association which will have no voting rights in the BCCI.
So where does that leave Shashank Manohar then?
“How do you decide which one of the three boards in say Maharshtra or Gujarat gets to represent the state. Each one will come with its own lawyers then. It’s a system that has existed for so many years and functioned smoothly. It will not serve any purpose. Like most of the other recommendations, this is not a feasible option,” explained another official.
The BCCI have shown their resilient side all too often in the past. It is during these times that the fractured BCCI can often come together and rally behind one man, anyone who could salvage the situation for them.
These aren’t times when the BCCI is looking to save face. If anything it’s trying its best to survive, and get away from a rather tricky situation. But this time around, as hard to swallow as the recommendations might be, they cannot just scowl at it and move on.
The next couple of days in Mumbai could well be the trickiest the Manohar regime has faced in its time holdin the reins.