With an emphasis on ensuring players’ independence and providing for fixed tenure of office-bearers followed by a cooling-off period, the Supreme Court-mandated Committee headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha is set to propose extensive measures to revamp the functioning of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI).
The Committee, which will submit its report to the Supreme Court on Monday and shall make public its recommendations subsequently, has compiled various far-reaching proposals to make certain that players are not treated like employees of the BCCI and that they are adequately separated from the Board.
Sources in the know said that the Committee came across various instances wherein players were being treated as employees and that their interests were completely in the hands of the BCCI. Therefore, the Committee, also comprising two other former Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and R V Raveendran, interacted with several players as well as those associated with the management before drafting proposals to guarantee “players’ interests are protected in all situations.”
The comprehensive report is also likely to recommend strict regulations for fixed tenures and extensions for BCCI office-bearers in order to ward off unreasonably long stint of one person at the helm of affairs.
It was observed by the Committee that owing to considerably long tenure and other regulations, too much power was getting concentrated in one hand and this practice had to be done away with.
Not only this, the panel, according to sources, have also mulled over prescribing for cooling-off period to address various situations of conflict of interest – a key issue sought to be dealt with by the three-member Committee. Apart from fixed tenure and cooling-off period, various other measures are also likely to be proposed so as to resolve conflict of interest situations vis a vis commercial interests.
Further, during its deliberations, the Committee noticed that it was not possible to totally de-link BCCI from IPL, especially when a substantial share of revenue of the Board comes from the IPL. The panel has, however, made suggestions to keep the two at a realistic distance. The sources said there would remain some overlap between the functionaries and management of BCCI and IPL but the Committee has recommended restructuring to pave way for a proper distance between the two entities.
Report on Sundar Raman
There will be a separate report on the alleged role of former IPL COO Sundar Raman in the 2013 IPL betting case. The sources said this report may lead to some disquieting revelations over the administration of cricket. The decision on the fate of Raman shall be binding on the BCCI.
Releasing the first part of its report in July last year, the panel had suspended Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals for two years, besides suspending Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra for life from any matches conducted by BCCI.
In the 57-page report, the panel had held that Cricket is bigger than individuals or body of individuals. It stated that financial losses to a few players or franchisees may not be of significant consideration when purity of game is the central element. “We feel that our decision must reflect a kind of institutionally firm view for upholding the paramountcy of the game,” the report had said.
Speaking to The Indian Express after releasing the report in July, Justice Lodha had said he was “hopeful” that the panel’s directives would go a long way in cleaning up the game of Cricket and that that the punitive steps will act as “deterrent”.
Apart from determining the quantum of punishments for Meiyappan, Kundra and the franchisee, the Committee was asked by the apex court in its January 2014 judgment to also examine and make suitable recommendations to the BCCI for reforms in its practices and procedures and amendments in its Memorandum of Association, Rules and Regulations. The panel was asked to propose reforms for issues like conflict of interest and to ensure the BCCI meets “demands of institutional integrity” in larger public interest while discharging what the court called “important public functions”.