In the absence of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the upcoming five-Test series between India and England, the BCCI, far and away the world’s richest cricket body, has requested the visiting England cricket team to pay from their own pocket for their hotel stay, travel and other arrangements. In a letter to England cricket team manager Phil Neal, BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke has explained the present situation, while apologising for the inconvenience caused.
“Dear Phil, I warmly welcome you for the upcoming cricket series. I am however at great pains to inform you that the BCCI is at present not in a position to execute the MoU between the Indian Cricket Board and the ECB. This is due to restrictions on execution of contracts imposed on the BCCI by a Court order,” Shirke wrote.
He also mentioned that the BCCI hasn’t been granted the permission yet (to sign an MoU) with the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel seeking further details. Interestingly, the panel has said giving directions on matters such as memoranda of understanding between two board wasn’t its mandate.
“A Committee has been appointed that is also to oversee financial transactions of the BCCI,” Shirke said. “The BCCI has referred this issue to the Committee appointed by the Supreme Court (Lodha Committee) on 28.10.2016 itself and sought urgent permission for execution of the MoU. Thereafter I have also sent the hon’ble Committee a request again today. However, the Committee while seeking further details a short while ago earlier today, has not yet granted us this permission,” Shirke said, before asking the England team to make payments for the hospitalities extended.
“Certain courtesies such as hotel, travel and various other arrangements have been extended to you on arrival of the team in India. However, till the MoU is executed, the BCCI is not in a position to commit to paying for the same. Please make arrangements to remit such payments. The BCCI will inform you as and when further instructions are received by the BCCI from the Lodha Committee,” the letter stated.
Shirke has duly apologised to the England team, saying: “I apologise on behalf of the BCCI for inconvenience that is being caused.”
The move is as unprecedented as it is stunning. Probably never before in the history of Indian cricket a touring team has been asked to pay from their own coffers from hospitalities extended and logistics. Shirke’s letter follows the Lodha Committee’s missive to the BCCI on Thursday that asked for “relevant details” before issuing directions regarding payments. The Committee also advised the cricket board to comply with the Supreme Court orders.
“The proposed MoU between BCCI and ECB concerns bilateral cricketing policy, the formulation of which is not a part of the mandate of the Committee. As far as payments are concerned, if they are to be made directly by the BCCI, no directions can be given by this Committee until relevant details are furnished by the BCCI,” the Lodha Committee’s letter to the BCCI secretary said.
“To avoid any hindrance to the cricketing calendar and to ensure the continued enjoyment of the sport by its aficionados, the BCCI would be well advised to comply with the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its orders dated 18th July 2016, 7th October 2016 and 21st October 2016,” it added.
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