BCCI set for major shake-up following SC verdict on Lodha panel recommendations - Firstpost
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BCCI set for major shake-up following SC verdict on Lodha panel recommendations

New Delhi: Cornered by the Supreme Court's acceptance of the Lodha Committee recommendations on sweeping
reforms, the BCCI is set for a revamp, as some of its senior functionaries are staring at the prospect of losing their
positions in either the parent or state bodies.

The Supreme Court accepted the recommendations on Monday, including a bar on ministers and civil servants and those above 70 from becoming BCCI members, but left it to Parliament to decide whether the board should come under RTI and whether betting on the game can be legalised. The board has been given six months' time to implement the recommendations.

The apex court also accepted the recommendations of the committee headed by retired Chief Justice of India RM
Lodha to have a CAG nominee in BCCI. A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice FMI Kalifulla rejected BCCI's objection against recommendations for one-state-one-vote and said that states like Maharashtra and Gujarat having more than one cricket associations will have voting rights on rotational basis.

"We respect the SC's decision. We will look into how we can implement the Lodha panel recommendations," said senior BCCI functionary and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla.

Representational image of the Supreme Court. AFP

Representational image of the Supreme Court. AFP

"We respect the Supreme Court's decision. We are studying it," added the board's recently-appointed CEO Rahul Johri, whose appointment was itself a result of Lodha committee recommendations.

The court also accepted the panel's suggestion that there should be a player's association in the BCCI. The apex court also ruled that one person should hold just one post in cricket administration to avoid any conflict of interest and scrapping of all other administrative committees in the BCCI after CAG nominee comes in.

The verdict means that BCCI president Anurag Thakur (Himachal Pradesh), secretary Ajay Shirke (Maharashtra), treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhary (Haryana) and joint secretary Amitabh Chaudhary (Jharkhand) will have to forego their positions in their respective state associations to avoid "conflict of interest".

The ruling on an age cap of 70 years on BCCI office-bearers, on the other hand, effectively means the end of the road for veteran administrators like Sharad Pawar, N Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah to name a few. While former BCCI president Pawar is 75 years old, Tamil Nadu strongman Srinivasan is currently 71. Both are presidents of their respective state associations — Mumbai CA and TNCA respectively.

Saurashtra Cricket Association supremo Shah, who has served BCCI for over three decades in various capacities such
as secretary, joint secretary, treasurer and vice-president, is 72 years old. Shah admitted that he is "disappointed" but has to respect the apex court's order. "Yes, I am very disappointed but this is the verdict of the apex court of the country, which will have to respect," Shah said.

However, he felt that it will at least take another 18 months to fully implement the verdict. "The BCCI will have to first implement it at their end and then the state associations will have to also implement the same. In my understanding, it will take another 18 months to put everything in order as per the Lodha Committee recommendations," Shah observed.

He was, however, non-committal when asked as to who would replace him in SCA, an association where it has been a 'One Man Show' for over three-and-half decades. "My members had given mandate to work for the betterment of cricket in the region. Saurashtra has one of the best international stadiums right now. We would be hosting a Test
match and we have ODIs, and T20s. We have also successfully hosted the IPL," Shah concluded.

However, former India cricketers Bishan Singh Bedi and Kirti Azad hailed the verdict of the apex court. "Let's all accept Supreme Court's verdict gracefully & humbly-after all isn't health o Indn Crkt more imp than any personality pol/otherwise!" tweeted Bedi.

Azad too took to Twitter to express his views. "my stand vindicated, #SupremeCourt accepts Justice Lodha committee report. Wait for my further action against #DDCA and #BCCI," wrote Azad, who alongside Bedi, has led a crusade against corruption in the DDCA.

Justice (Retd) Lodha, who had recommended the sweeping reforms, said it is a good step and will benefit Indian
cricket. "It is good for the BCCI administration and also for the public and other stakeholders," he said.

Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal, who headed the probe committee which gave the initial report on the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, described order as a landmark one. "It will improve the functioning of the Board even though I must admit that the BCCI is a well-run body. This judgement can be a reference for other sports bodies as well and that is why I think it is a landmark judgement," Mudgal said.

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