Mohammad Azharuddin, former India captain, is free to contest for the post of president of Hyderabad Cricket Association as the Indian cricket board has made it clear that it no longer debars him from holding any position in ICC or BCCI or its affiliated associations.
In effect, his life ban has been lifted. Since the BCCI didn’t challenge Andhra Pradesh High Court order which set aside BCCI’s life ban on “procedural irregularities” grounds, the board will not challenge Azharuddin’s candidature.
The Indian Express also understands the board will clear all pending dues of Azharuddin, that includes monthly gratis, and one time benefit handed to former cricketers in the next annual general body meeting.
The matter came to light after Prakash Jain, HCA’s ad-hoc committee chairman, had sought clarification from BCCI on Azharuddin’s eligibility for elections last January. Adarsh Saxena, who looks after BCCI’s legal affairs, had mailed the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, a copy of which is in possession with The Indian Express, about board’s legal position.
“We understand that BCCI was contemplating filing a review petition against Andhra Pradesh High Court order sometime in March 2013. However, we understand that BCCI ultimately did not challenge the APHC order and that same has attained finality. We understand that BCCI has not responded to the letter.” Saxena’s email reads.
Saxena further wrote, “In the light of the aforesaid, in our view, the BCCI order no longer debars Mr Azharuddin from holding any position in the ICC/BCCI or any of its affiliated associations as same has been set aside vide the APHC order. In view thereof, it is open Mr Azharuddin to participate in the ongoing election of the Hyderabad Cricket Association provided he is not otherwise disqualified in terms of the orders dated 2nd January 2017 and 3rd January 2017 read with the Lodha committee recommendations/directives.”
In its response to HCA, the BCCI stressed the view that Azharuddin wasn’t debarred from contesting, and it also added that the BCCI won’t express any view on whether he is otherwise qualified or disqualified from participating in the elections to HCA as it’s not for BCCI to examine or advise on the eligibility or non-eligibility of persons seeking to contest elections to state associations.
Last year, Azharuddin made the move to contest in the elections, and wrote a letter to BCCI on the issue. That he would like to contribute in the field of cricket, and requested to be considered for a respectable position in the ICC/BCCI or affiliated state associations.
Subsequently, Jain, as part of HCA, had also sought clarifications from the board whether the electoral officer can accept his nomination filed through a local HCA affiliated club. In his reply to Jain after advice from his legal team, the CEO Johri cleared the air that BCCI order no longer debars Azharuddin from holding any position in ICC/BCCI or any affiliated association.
The timeline of Azhar’s ‘comeback’ story
Dec 5, 2000: BCCI’s disciplinary committee held in its order that Azharuddin had “close contacts and nexus with certain named bookies/punters and was involved in match fixing.” And that he is “debarred from playing any cricket matches conducted or authorised by ICC/BCCI or affiliated associations, and also debarred from holding any postion in ICC/BCCI or affiliated associations for life commencing from 5th December 2000.
2003: Hyderabad city civil court dismissed Azharuddin’s suit seeking BCCI order be set aside. Azharuddin challenged the decision in the Andhra High Court.
2012: The High Court set aside the city civil court’s judgement and decree, and also set aside BCCI’s order on account of various procedural irregularities.
2013: News emerges that BCCI was likely to contest the High Court’s decision but they ultimately don’t challenge the order.