The BCCI continues to drag its feet on the implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations, accepted by the Supreme Court in its July 18, 2016 order. And even after almost a year, there’s stalemate. The BCCI Special General Meeting (SGM) in Mumbai on Monday came in the wake of the Committee of Administrators’s (CoA) meetings with the state associations, on Sunday, where the members reportedly were told that not adopting the new constitution might force the Supreme Court-appointed Committee to file a status report, requesting the court to impose the Lodha reforms upon the cricket board.
The CoA had also “requested” the BCCI members to adopt the new constitution through a written communication. But the SGM on Monday didn’t take any decisive call and stuck to its defiance against the absolute implementation of the Lodha panel recommendations. After over two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the BCCI rather decided to form a committee to analyse “how best and quickly” the apex court order could be executed. “A five-six member committee will be formed tomorrow to see how best and quickly the principal order of the Supreme Court can be implemented,” acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary told reporters after the meeting, adding that the committee will start working in the next two days and will have a 15-day deadline to submit its report.
According to a BCCI insider, former cricket board president N Srinivasan dominated the meeting, expressing his reservations over certain clauses in the Lodha reforms. Some members, however, wanted to go ahead, saying that “there should be an end to this ad hocism”. But they were outnumbered. Also, it is learnt that Srinivasan wanted the BCCI to reconsider its decision to support the ICC governance and financial overhaul at the recent Annual Conference in London. But the veteran administrator didn’t find much support on the issue from his fellow members. After the CoA “request” and the state associations’ meetings with the Supreme Court-appointed Administrators on Sunday, the BCCI members sat down to prepare a draft, shortlisting their reservations that they felt the CoA and the court might be sympathetic about.
According to a cricket board member, Srinivasan said that on October 1 last year there was a general body meeting conducted by then secretary (Ajay Shirke) and president (Anurag Thakur) and this entire adoption issue put to vote. Today, how can the members change that? The general body had already voted on that. Based on the decision of that meeting, the secretary and the president had given an affidavit to the Supreme Court. How can that affidavit be changed? The secretary and president were then removed by the Supreme Court. “The committee (to be formed) will go into each and every action point necessitated by the principal judgment and only those exceptional and limited areas of difficulty will be brought to notice of CoA which will thereafter decide course of action,” said Choudhary. “The court’s order has to be implemented. If meeting went on for two-and-a-half hours, Item No. 1 (on the agenda) consumed in excess of an hour. There was no voting,” he added.
Asked about Srinivasan’s presence at the meeting, Choudhary said: “Notice for a meeting says all member units of the BCCI are requested to attend the meeting. As to which individual is chosen, it’s their (association’s) discretion as long as it does not violate any court order.” Adoption of the new conflict-of-interest guidelines set by the CoA was also on agenda in Monday’s meeting. But, because no decision was taken on the new constitution, that issue remained pending as well. Coming to the ICC overhaul, an insider said Srinivasan was in favour of calling a separate meeting to pass a resolution to recall the BCCI’s stand and then inform the world body about India’s rights as per the 2014 ICC Members Participation Agreement (MPA).
The BCCI has been allocated $405 million for the eight-year cycle under the new model. Srinivasan, however, didn’t have much support on the matter and in the meeting he praised the acting secretary for his work, while saying that there should be a scope for the Indian board to review certain points in the future. Following the SGM, the CoA is now expected to file a status report before the Supreme Court and a BCCI member said “the reluctance” to adopt the Lodha reforms might not go down well with the committee. A member of the cricket board’s legal panel spoke about the possibilities.
“The Supreme Court can now invoke Article 142 and impose the new constitution upon the BCCI. Or, it can exercise some legal tools (like stopping the BCCI fund disbursements to errant associations, which it has already done). Or, the court can refer the matter to a larger bench.” Meanwhile, about revoking the suspension of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, the acting secretary said: “Rajasthan was the litigant. However, the association has conducted its elections following the Supreme Court’s order and also communicated with us, saying all impediments will be removed, including litigation with the BCCI. The house felt to inform them to first answer the show cause notice. It will be done expeditiously.” For the record, Anil Kumble’s departure as the Indian team head coach wasn’t discussed.