The Committee of Administrators’ (CoA) fresh guideline to state associations has clarified that they can incorporate former international cricketers as members even without voting rights. The state bodies that have only club or district representatives as voting rights holders can usher in ex-international cricketers as non-voting members. But in associations that have individual members with voting rights — like Delhi, Maharashtra and Vidarbha — former players would be entitled to vote.
The CoA’s 16-point guideline to state associations, freshly issued on Monday, is basically an extension of what the Supreme Court-appointed Committee had provided in June last year, asking them to fall in line with the Lodha reforms to be eligible for receiving BCCI funds. The CoA has reiterated that proxy voting in state bodies won’t be allowed. Clarifications with regard to the clause ‘Association shall grant automatic membership to former international players hailing from the State’ have been given in an effort to remove ambiguities.
Citing different state associations making different interpretations, the CoA listed three points:
* If a State Association has only representatives of district associations or clubs as voting members in the General Body, it should be acceptable for such a State Association to grant membership without voting rights to former international players. However, if the State Association has any individual members with voting rights in the General Body, then such State Association must necessarily treat former international players at par with such individual members by giving them voting rights as well;
* In cases where a former international player has represented one or more State Association in first-class cricket and/or is residing in the jurisdiction of another State Association, it should be up to such former international player to choose which State Association he/she wants to take membership in and the concerned State Association should grant membership accordingly; and
* In cases where a former international player has not represented any State Association in first-class cricket (possibly because he/she has only played for railways/services/universities), the State Association within whose jurisdiction such former international player resides should grant membership.
* A former international cricketer from Bengal, for example, won’t have the voting rights at the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) if he/she is incorporated as a state association member. The CAB has only clubs and district associations as voting members. An ex-international cricketer from Maharashtra, however, will have voting rights at the Maharashtra Cricket Association, for the association allows individual members to vote.
* Former India left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi, for example, played first-class cricket for Bengal and Saurashtra. He now lives in England. Doshi, however, would be eligible to choose between the CAB and the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) as far as his membership is concerned.
* Former India batsman and current Indian team assistant coach Sanjay Bangar, for example, played all his first-class cricket for Railways. But being a Mumbai resident, he would be eligible to have his membership with the Mumbai Cricket Association.
Some state associations had frowned on the ‘membership to former international players’ clause as they felt it might open another front with regard to voting at the Annual General Meeting and/or general body meetings. Mumbai, for example, has a big chunk of former international cricketers who, if united, could be the deciding factor in elections. The MCA, however, has clubs as voting members. But now that the CoA has clarified, the ex-cricketers there won’t have individual voting rights even if the association follows the Committee’s guidelines.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Cricket Association president Abhay Apte said they have already received applications for membership from some ex-international cricketers. “I think they (CoA) again will have to clarify what’s the definition of international players, as ODIs and T20s are not considered as first-class cricket. So is it solely former Test cricketers or former international players across formats? We have already adopted (the Lodha reforms). Today, we had a meeting where we have more or less finalised the (new constitution). And we will be going for the AGM sometime in the first week of April to get it approved. We have received some applications and when the process (of incorporating the new constitution) is done, those applications will be considered,” Apte told The Indian Express.
A senior BCCI functionary, however, said state associations would rather go by the Supreme Court judgment. “In its July 2016 judgment, the Supreme Court has very clearly held that state associations are free to associate with only those people that they wish to associate with,” he told this paper.
The proposed embargo on proxy voting, if implemented, can hugely affect the course of elections in some state associations that are registered as companies and allow proxy voting. There are associations where influential people hold proxies for many clubs and/or affiliated units. If only the authorised persons are allowed to vote as per the CoA guideline, those proxies will go. “In some associations it can have a far-reaching effect,” said a state association member.