Committee of Administrators' attempt to micro-manage cricket could be death knell for BCCI

In many ways one cannot help but feel that the ground is being prepared for any clever, manipulative CEO to have the BCCI eating out of his hands for years together.

Vedam Jaishankar, Sep 21, 2017 12:54:11 IST

Perhaps my understanding of the document drawn by the Committee of Administrators is limited. But after going through 96 pages of the Memorandum of Association, Rules and Regulations and reading from Chapter One on Scope to Chapter 10 on Miscellaneous, the major takeaway is that honorary office-bearers cannot be trusted while paid professionals are the cat’s whiskers.

While attempting to limit the role of the BCCI treasurer, the CoA by way of explanation says as much in its note:

The COA is of the considered view that in order to ensure transparency in the making of payments and incurring expenditure out of funds of the BCCI, it is necessary that the same must be vested in the hands of professional management. The professional management is expected to be headed by a CEO who must necessarily be in charge of ensuring all timely payments and efficient administration. Transparency in payments, in a duly audited manner, must satisfy all cannons of accountability. This will ensure that no player or service provider or contractor has to seek any favours from any official of the BCCI and there would be total transparency in the matter of payments. This would also ensure dignity of the players, officials and all concerned.

Representative image. AFP

Representative image. AFP

Of course there have been crooked office-bearers in quite a few state associations. But to state that all professionals are clean as a whistle is a bit rich, particularly after their enabling a flurry of 2G, coal, fodder and other such multi-crore rupee scams.

The treasurer is not the only one, some of the duties of secretary too could be curtailed if the CoA has its wish: ...the CoA is of the considered view that all ministerial functions including the signing of contracts for and on behalf of the BCCI and carrying on of correspondence in the name of BCCI must be construed as day to day functioning of the BCCI and should be handled by the CEO ....

Be that as it may. The attempt to micro-manage and get into day-to-day administration and frame it in the rules and regulations seems self-defeating.

There is a clause that says that women’s cricket will be managed by a separate committee drawn from among former women cricketers and they shall be in charge of all women’s cricket which includes scheduling and organising of matches, selection, coaching, etc.

I can foresee in the not-too-distant future the women’s committee scheduling matches on the same dates as Ranji Trophy etc, at, say KSCA. Whose interests take precedence then especially as silos are being created to run various committees and gender and differently-abled cricket? Would it be a ‘ladies first’ policy in such a scenario?

Another disturbing intervention is in the tours and fixtures affairs. The CoA wants all Test centres to be awarded Tests on a rotational basis without any repetition until the cycle is complete. They want similar treatment for ODIs and T20s too.

This idea has been flogged by the Board enough times and they had reached a consensus that big matches would be avoided on the West and East coasts immediately after the South-West Monsoon and during the return monsoon respectively. But the CoA wants to prise open this once again. It will lead to tremendous heart burn to organisers, sponsors and broadcasters as rains will play havoc with matches.

Likewise what is the point of going by rotational policy when you cannot have day-night ODIs in the north during winter when the effects of dew will be at a maximum?

It is this sort of micro-managing that makes this document sound like a death knell.

Why they have gone in for three power centres defeats logic.There is an Apex Council answerable to the General Body, a Governing Council that does not report to the Apex Council and a CEO who is answerable to the Apex Council but has nothing to do with the General Council, which will run IPL.

Likewise, Australia, West Indies and Sri Lanka among others have had major issues with their players association. We could have learnt a lesson from their struggles and steered clear with a system that works. But no, we too are heading towards a scenario where we will suffer the effects of this tussle sooner rather than later. And all because somebody thought that players ought to do a lot more than just play cricket!

The CoA also does not take kindly to BCCI or state cricket association committee members hanging in there for more than three years. Not just the office-bearers, even committee members are to be jettisoned after three years. The underlying rule is they must not be in any committee or sub-committee or anywhere else after three years. Any experience they might have gained must be thrown into the dustbin on their way out.

Additionally a number of letter-pad associations, particularly in the North East — Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim et al will come into being with full voting rights while cricket-rich Mumbai will have no voting rights for 2/3rds of its existence.

In many ways one cannot help but feel that the ground is being prepared for any clever, manipulative CEO to have the BCCI eating out of his hands for years together. That’s the sort of tyranny that these changes might well land Indian cricket into. Hopefully, I’m wrong.

Updated Date: Sep 21, 2017 12:54:11 IST


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