The cricket is the only sport of India which has its place in hearts all people of India. But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which administers the game in the nation, however, continues to be mired in one controversy after another as large political interference, corruption, match fixing or betting, etc.
Especially after advent of IPL, match fixing and corruption has become a more common notion in the cricket of India. This is the reason why Supreme Court interfere in this matter and appoint Lodha committee to give final verdict for IPL scandal and recommendations for reforms in BCCI. In July, Lodha committee submitted its report and put a ban of 2 years on both franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. Further in January 2016, Lodha Committee submitted its report for reforms in BCCI.
Major recommendations of the Committee
A. Structure and Constitution
• At present BCCI consist of 30 full time members and many states are not represented on BCCI such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and six North-Eastern states.
• Further many states are over represented in BCCI such as Gujarat and Maharashtra both have 3 full members each representing parts of their respective States.
• At present, BCCI is registered as a society under Tamil Nadu Society Registration Act and various state Cricket Associations registered differently such as some under companies or some under Societies Registration Act.
• Each state will represent only one unit and would have one vote.
• The others who does not have territory and who does not play in tournaments such as Railways or National Cricket Club Kolkata would be accorded the status of Associate Member so that their views may be considered while they may not have voting rights.
• There shall be uniformity in Constitution and functioning of BCCI and member associations.
• President as a Power Centre: The President of the board has all powers from overall superintendence of the Board to selection of the team. The President has veto over team chosen by selectors such as selector Mohinder Amarnath had disclosed that BCCI president Srinivasan vetoed against decision of selectors to remove Dhoni as a test captain after lossing test series in England and Australia.
• Zonal considerations: There seems to be no rational basis for the Presidency to be rotated as per Zones, which has the effect of forsaking merit.
• No representation for women: There is no representation for women in BCCI and it is clear from the fact that BCCI has never seen a woman in the Working Committee.
• Unlimited terms and tenures: Many individuals occupy various posts in the BCCI for multiple terms and on multiple occasions, without any ceiling limit.
• No disqualifications: There appears to be no ground on which an office bearer has to demit office.
Recommendation BCCI governance and management shall be divided along two councils, one is APEX and other is IPL Governing Council.
• APEX Council: Powers of president shall be divided across a governing body called APEX council. It shall consist of 9 members:
Five Office Bearers: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Joint Secretary and Treasurer.
Four Independent Members or Councilors: Two to be nominated by players association which is to be formed, one from BCCI full members and one to be nominated by CAG.
• APEX council is further composed of three bodies or offices that are as follows:
CEO: This office shall be responsible for all non cricketing tasks such as finance, operations, media or human resources, etc.
Umpires Committee: The Umpires Committee is another Committee comprising only Umpires, which selects and classifies umpires for officiating games under the auspices of the BCCI.
Cricket Committees: The Cricket Committees would be seven in number dealing with selection, coaching, performance evaluation and talent resource development of Men, Women, Junior, Zonal and Differently-abled teams. Each of these Committees would comprise only former players.
• Tenure of office bearers is limited for 3 years period and no BCCI office-bearer can have more than two consecutive terms.
• No BCCI office-bearer can hold office for more than 3 terms with the condition that there will be a cooling off after each term.
• No BCCI office-bearer can hold two posts at the same time.
• The Zones would be relevant only for the purpose of the tournaments conducted amongst themselves, but not for nomination to the governance of the Board.
• Ministers and government servants are barred from being a member of governing body of BCCI.
• IPL Governing Council Composition: The IPL Governing Council needs to be reconstituted with more autonomy and Lodha Committee proposes a Governing Council with only nine members:
3 ex-officio members: Secretary, Treasurer and CEO of BCCI.
Two representatives of BCCCI: to be elected by general body.
Two nominees of the Franchises
One nominee of CAG in APEX council.
One nominee of Player’s Association which is to be formed.
• BCCI should ensure that at least 15 days gap should be provided between the IPL season and the national calendar.
Betting and Match Fixing
• The Lodha Committee is of view that Betting shall be legalized except for players, BCCI members, administrators or those covered by the BCCI and IPL regulations.
• Further Lodha committee recommended that match fixing to be made a criminal offence.
• Provision has been made to have an independent ombudsman to resolve grievances of Members, Administrators, Players and even members of the public as per the procedures laid down.
• There shall be a Cricket Players’ Association affording membership to all international and most first class men and women retired cricketers. This Association shall discharge assigned functions with the financial support of the BCCI.
• It is recommended that commercial advertisement or breaks should be allowed in time of drinks, lunch and tea only rather than every minute ad breaks.
• The BCCI must provide the relevant information in discharge of its public functions or indirectly come under scrutiny of RTI Act.
Legalizing betting might fetch taxes for government and huge amount of legal money for our GDP, but it is not hidden from anyone that betting is the major reason for prevalent match fixing in the game of cricket. Further, it may be suicidal attempt by government in providing legal status to unethical practices. It may enhance terrorism activities in India as betting is one of major source of finance for terrorism.
The committee recommended commercial breaks only at time of drinks, lunch or tea rather than ad breaks between overs but this small ad breaks (say 15 seconds) between overs account for major chunk of revenue for BCCI. This revenue helps BCCI to run coaching and talent search program to find out best players from small villages and towns.
However Lodha Committee advocates for uniformity in constitution and functioning of BCCI and member associations but does not recommend for enacting a national law for uniform, transparent and accountable sports bodies in India. Further it may be difficult to get BCCI under scrutiny of RTI until a national law is enacted by the parliament.
The committee says that ministers or government servant should be debarred from holding a post in national and state bodies but not debarred politicians or MP/MLA’s from being part of sport bodies. However committee advocates for more representation of players in BCCI and sports bodies but without cleaning political interference from sports, nothing fruitful can be attained.
All of above flaws have lower significance when compared to spirit of Lodha committee report which put emphasis on reforming cricket by removing some necessary evils such as poor governance, match fixing, etc. The report is a starting step in reforming the sports and if accepted then become a landmark for reforms in other sports.