If transparency is name of the game, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) headed by Vinod Rai must wholeheartedly welcome the Special General Body Meeting (SGM) called by member units of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for 22 June at New Delhi.
Messages, reports and statements have been flying fast and thick over these past few days, with CoA holding the SGM to be a violation of its directions. In turn Amitabh Choudhary, acting secretary of BCCI has stated that the CoA’s letter was a violation of court orders and the meeting itself was being called as per Board's constitution.
The legality or otherwise of the SGM notwithstanding, the CoA must joyfully welcome the meeting where the agenda is to discuss threadbare some of the decisions of the Supreme Court-appointed body. If the SGM finds flaws with some of the moves made by the CoA, then there is still time to do some course correction. On the other hand, if they find the decisions to be flawless it will be a vindication of the CoA’s governance.
The BCCI members’ agenda is not unreasonable. It is an exercise that needs to be gone through to not only strengthen Indian cricket but also to ascertain if its development is in the right path.
The 10-point agenda is fairly simple:
1. Consider and decide on matters relating to players’ contracts and remunerations including remunerations to domestic players, match officials etc.
2. Update on and to consider and decide on matters pertaining to commercial rights and sponsorships of the BCCI.
3. To consider and to take decisions on matters pertaining to the ICC including but not limited to revenues and the Members Participation Agreement.
4. Update on and to consider and decide on the matter relating to dispute raised by PCB in the ICC DRC.
5. To consider and to decide on matters pertaining to Committees and Sub–Committees of the BCCI, and other decisions of policy nature of the BCCI.
6. To consider and decide on matters pertaining to appointments and Human Resources of the BCCI.
7. To consider and decide on legal matters and on the matter of legal representation of the BCCI in various forums generally and in specific matters.
8. To consider and to take decisions on all matters pertaining to the National Cricket Academy, its programs, and all matters pertaining to the proposed new National Cricket Academy Head Quarters.
9. To consider and to take decisions on all matters of cricket operations including those relating to the Domestic Season (2018-19.)
10. To consider and to take decisions on the T20 Tournaments hosted and organized by State Associations.
Many of these decisions would have far reaching impact on Indian cricket and it is only right that they are examined with a microscope. In this connection, it is laudable that all member associations, who will be represented by office-bearers, have been given sufficient time to make their own internal assessment of each of the topics on the agenda. They could thus come well prepared for the 22 June meeting.
A good, robust meeting where issues are minutely discussed would be in the best interests of BCCI. It would also be a great boost to transparency in decision-making.
Unfortunately the CoA and BCCI seem to be at loggerheads even for something as simple as reviewing decisions.
The CoA while spitting venom at BCCI's SGM notice said its approval was "neither sought nor provided".
Besides, the CoA said: “Till further instructions from the COA, it is directed that no BCCI employee/ consultant/ retainer/ service provider shall prepare and/or circulate any papers in respect of the said SGM or in any way act further to or in aid of the notice (including without limitation incurring any costs or expenses towards the said SGM by way of bookings, etc.)
A peeved BCCI secretary dashed off a detailed rebuttal seemingly drafted by a legal brain which pointed out that the CoA had misconstrued the SC orders “and instead of focusing on its primary duty, i.e. ensuring the smooth implementation of the (Lodha) reforms, has been focused on devising ways and means to get rid of the office bearers and even undermine the status of the General Body.”
It added, “Further, the Hon’ble Court did not give any mandate to the CoA to either take decisions of a policy nature or to supervise the General Body. In fact, in supervising the administration of the BCCI, a duty is cast upon the CoA to ensure implementation of the decisions of the General Body that are not violative of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in any way.”
Meanwhile one board member is reported to have said “No SC order empowers the (2-member) CoA to take decisions of policy, something they understood a year back but now ignore intentionally.”
Whatever the controversy surrounding the meeting, the review of the decisions as spelt out in the agenda must be gone through. It will keep cricket lovers informed of the path taken for the long-term benefit of Indian cricket.
If the CoA has goofed up, the same should be brought to light and corrective measures taken. Indian cricket cannot be held hostage to egos, either of CoA or BCCI office-bearers. A review and defence thereof, if needed, will do the game in the country a world of good.