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Either do Commentary or be Officials - Ethics Officer to Cricketers

Devadyuti Das |June 22, 2019, 7:44 AM IST
Either do Commentary or be Officials - Ethics Officer to Cricketers

The judgement passed by BCCI Ethics Officer and former Supreme Court judge DK Jain in the ‘conflict of interest’ case against former India cricketers Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman could have a major impact on all cricketers in this country — both active and retired. Justice Jain, who is also the BCCI Ombudsman appointed by the Supreme Court, made it abundantly clear to the BCCI as well as the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that Rule 38 (4) of new BCCI constitution should be followed in totality which clearly state ‘one man, one post’.

Rule 38 (4) stated in the BCCI constitution is: “It is clarified that no individual may occupy more than one of the following posts at a single point of time except where prescribed under these Rules: (a) Player (Current), (b) Selector/Member of selection committee, (c) Team official, (d) Commentator, (e) Match official, (f) Administrator/office bearer, (g) Electoral officer, (h) Ombudsman & Ethics officer, (i) Auditor, (j) Any person who is governance, management, employment of a franchise, (k) Member of a Standing Committee, (l) CEO and Managers, (m) Officer bearer of a member, (n) Service provider (legal, financial, etc), (o) Contractual entity (Broadcast, security, contractor, etc), (p) Owner of a cricket academy”.

According to the above rule, former India captain Ganguly is conflicted because he is a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), a commentator with Star Sports and official with Delhi Capitals franchise. In case of Laxman, he is also a member of CAC, a commentator and mentor with Sunrisers Hyderabad team.

“I have only tried to interpret the Lodha committee recommendations correctly. Ganguly and Laxman are clearly conflicted looking at Rule 38 (4). ‘One man, one past’ is at the heart of Lodha recommendations and it should be implemented in totality,” Justice Jain told CricketNext.

“Even the commentary duties of the former cricketers comes under this purview. I cleared Tendulkar of any conflict of interest because he had given up his position on the CAC and was only a mentor with the Mumbai Indians,” Jain added.

However, since then Tendulkar has also joined the commentary team of broadcasters Star Sports. The complainant, who bought the cases of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman to the Ethics Officer, Sanjeev Gupta of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) has now urged BCCI to follow the judgement passed by Justice Jain in this matter.

“In compliance to BCCI Ethics Officer Sir order dated 20.06.19 in Complaint number – 4/2019 , in conflict case of Shri VVS Laxman , I hereby humbly request to ponder & execute henceforth following to ensure that Not a single disqualified /conflicted individual/s is/shall be given/ Appointed / Elected / Nominated at any post, whatsoever by BCCI , State Associations, IPL Franchise & TV Broadcaster/s , in compliance to Apex Court Approved BCCI Constitution,” Gupta wrote in a mail to the CoA and the BCCI, a copy of which is with CricketNext.

“BCCI Shall take affidavit from every existing post holder that the said post holder is not occupying any other post in BCCI / in any State Association / IPL / TV Broadcasters & the said individual is also not disqualified under Rule 6(5), 14(3to 9 ) or under rule of the BCCI Constitution. The said affidavit shall be at once uploaded on the BCCI website,” Gupta wrote, effectively asking the trio of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman to make it clear that they are working as commentators in addition to being mentors or officials with IPL franchises.

“I have only tried to interpret the BCCI constitution and Rule 38 (4) to the best of my knowledge. The judgement has been passed on to BCCI and it’s up to them to decide how to go about implementing the rule,” Jain said.

Jain also added that active players such as Robin Uthappa and Irfan Pathan doing commentary during the World Cup could constitute as ‘conflict of interest’ according to the new BCCI constitution.

“No player is barred from commentating. I have only interpreted what ‘conflict of interest’ means as per the BCCI constitution,” the former Supreme Court judge added.​

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