International cricket will not suffer due to the Supreme Court stopping all fund transfers from the BCCI to state associations till they agree to follow the Lodha Committee guidelines, as is evident from the case of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA), which will host the fourth India-New Zealand ODI in Ranchi on Wednesday.
On an average, the budget for hosting an ODI is Rs 2 crore. The JSCA’s current annual report shows the association has sold the ground rights for the game to TCM for Rs 2 crore, ensuring break-even. It means whatever else the state body earns from the match is its pure profit, and it is not reliant on BCCI to hold international matches.
According to some JSCA officials, ground rights money has salvaged the ODI. Normally, every hosting association gets Rs 1.5 crore from the BCCI for an ODI. So effectively, the parent body used to help its match-hosting affiliates reach the break-even point. Revenue from ground rights, gates and advertisements contributed to profit margins.
But the Supreme Court in its October 21 order clearly said that the state units shouldn’t be given a single penny “for any purpose whatsoever” until they implement the Lodha Committee recommendations in toto. Like most other state units, the JSCA too has been averse to the absolute implementation of the Lodha reforms, preventing the cricket body from getting the BCCI money. So, according to the state association functionaries, profit margin would be a lot less this time.
“Yes, without Rs 2 crore from ground rights we would have been in trouble. Not that the JSCA coffers are empty, but profits received from an international match help you nurture your domestic cricket and carry forward the development work. Not getting the BCCI money will stall our cricket. It could have stalled the ODI also, but the ground rights agreement has come to our rescue. Still we have told some of our vendors that in certain cases payments might be delayed. Over the years we have established a good rapport with our vendors and they are cooperating,” JSCA secretary Rajesh Verma told The Indian Express.
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He explained… “Our cash reserves are limited and we have so many things to look after – from the Ranji Trophy to age-group events and infrastructure development. We are build two new dressing rooms at the Tata Motors ground at Jamshedpur. We are in talks with Tata Steel for renovation of the Keenan Stadium. We are looking for land to build a new stadium in Bokaro. Without the BCCI fund, all projects would eventually come to a halt. We have already written a letter to the BCCI about this,” said Verma.
The JSCA had sold the ground rights for the India-Sri Lanka T20 International earlier this year for Rs 1.8 crore. This time there’s a hike, which has allowed the association some breathing space.
“But if we don’t get the BCCI money for the ODI, the profit margin would be less. Also, in the long run, it would be very difficult for smaller state associations like us to sustain,” said a JSCA official.
But how does the state association plan to cope with the restricted financial freedom? Will it eventually fall in line and adopt the new MoA as per the Lodha Committee recommendations? “Our managing committee will meet after the ODI and decide our future course of action,” Verma said.
For the moment, though, he is looking forward to having good gate receipts for this match. The JSCA Cricket Stadium has a capacity of 39,000 and tickets are priced between Rs 700 and 4,000. Ranchi being the hometown of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, a full house is expected on Wednesday. This has now become an annual ritual in this part of the world – fanfare around an international fixture.
The enthusiasm for the fixture is such that despite a Jharkhand bandh called by opposition parties on Monday, large number of fans reached the Birsa Munda Airport when the two teams landed in Ranchi early afternoon. The noise of the spectators echoed around the area. Despite cash crunch, Ranchi decked up for fourth one-dayer