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BCCI's 2016 set for anxious beginning with Lodha committee's report today

The apex court had assigned the Lodha-led panel, including two other retired judges - Ashok Bhan and Raju Varadarajulu Raveendran, to make recommendations to the BCCI in order to prevent frauds and conflict of interest in cricket administration.

Cricketnext Staff |January 4, 2016, 9:17 AM IST
BCCI's 2016 set for anxious beginning with Lodha committee's report today

Cricket administration in India is expected to undergo a sea change when retired Justice RM Lodha-led committee's much-awaited report on redrafting the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Constitution will be presented before the Supreme Court on Monday.

The apex court had assigned the Lodha-led panel, including two other retired judges - Ashok Bhan and Raju Varadarajulu Raveendran, to make recommendations to the BCCI in order to prevent frauds and conflict of interest in cricket administration.

The BCCI first found itself embroiled in court matters when the country's top court appointed a committee led by Justice Mukul Mudgal to probe corruption in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and then expanded the scope of the inquiry by setting up the Lodha committee to look at the functioning of the Indian cricket board.

The committee has already suspended IPL franchises Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) and closed the doors on former BCCI and ICC chief N Srinivasan.

Now if the Lodha Committee decides to redraft the board's Constitution and insists on the state units to follow suit, it is going to be a massive overhaul.

Among the recommendations that might find place in the report can be the abolition of the zonal rotation policy to elect BCCI administrators. There can also be a mention of age and tenure limit for board and state association office-bearers. The report can also recommend that the sports administrators be restricted to have just two terms in their offices.

In one of the most important aspects of it, chargesheeted administrators could face possibility of being barred from contesting election.

While there can be scrutiny of revenue and income distribution by the board to state associations, all contracts and appointments might also be screened. There is also a possibility that independent directors may run the board and the IPL may be segregated from the board and run independently.

If the recommendations find their way, the BCCI, which has always denied to come under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, may not only come under it but also be brought under Sports Fraud Bill and Sports Code of India.

There is a also possibility to revamp certain state associations as some of them are having more than one units.

According to recent media reports, the role of former IPL COO Sundar Raman in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal also comes into focus, with the Lodha Committee expected to advise suitable punishment for the former administrator. As per the Mudgal report, Raman is facing a couple of serious charges and the panel may decide his fate on Monday.

However, it would be interesting to see how far the committee will go to change the board's structure as the recommendations will be exhaustive and some of these have come from former international cricketers, India captains and former board presidents.

According to a report in The Times of India, the BCCI, on the contrary, believes there is nothing to worry about.

"The recommendations are clearly not binding on the BCCI. It's a tool that critics may use for the next 10 years to point out any transgression whatsoever, which is unavoidable if you're running such a huge sports body. It is a governance model and only recommendatory," the TOI quoted one of the three top lawyers representing the BCCI.

While the final say might rest with the Supreme Court, the Lodha report is definitely expected to open the can of worms in Indian cricket and only time will tell how the BCCI manages to set itself free from one of the biggest testing times it has faced in recent history.

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