Going by the recommendations of the Lodha Committee on conflict of interest issue, commentators contracted by the Indian cricket board might have to choose between commentary and writing sponsored columns for newspapers. This will be applicable only if the BCCI adopts all the measures. Some of the commentators who might be affected by this ruling are Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Murali Kartik, and Harsha Bhogle. However, this rule will not affect the Hindi commentators as their contract is with Star Sports (not BCCI).
Commenting on the issue, a top BCCI official spoke to TOI and said, “As per the Lodha Committee guidelines on conflict of interest, those employed with the BCCI can’t have another source of income. We’ve become very strict with conflict of interest issues — recently, a physiotherapist with the Indian women’s team had to quit her job because her brother is an official with a state association. The CoA will have a look at their contracts, but the final call on this issue will be taken by a Supreme Court-appointed ombudsman, as and when he’s appointed by the apex court.”
Meanwhile, the Committee of Administrators (CoA), after a meeting last month, has decided “the contracts between the BCCI and its commentators should be examined to see if they permitted BCCI commentators to 1) write sponsored columns for newspapers, and or 2) participate in sponsored awards/rating programmes.”
Earlier, COA member Diana Edulji had stated that all concerns pertaining to conflict of interest are being deliberated upon. “We have discussed the names but it has not been finalised. We need to look into the Conflict of Interest rules properly. We still don’t know who has what interest,” she had said.
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