The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied, misappropriated, or misrepresented in the following post.
Sourav Ganguly, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Money is power, they say. And with great power, comes great responsibility. But, the recent developments around Supreme Court’s involvement in structural reform and its shot towards making sports administration cleaner and leaner has shocked many of us. It was not long back since we fought against issues like the tyrant hands of bookies pumping black money in BCCI, the allegations of corruptions against Indian Olympic Association regarding arrangements made during Commonwealth Games 2010, doping charges against the weightlifters, Political interference in various sports and netas overshadowing players. The nation now wants to know, should the honorable Supreme Court have interfered early? Is it too late to drive corruption away from BCCI, the governing body of Indian cricket?
Earlier this year, the bench led by CJI TS Thakur sacked BCCI president Mr. Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke, as well as instructed BCCI to implement all the recommendations of Justice Lodha committee for a revamp of the BCCI. The SC also disqualified all the board and its state association office bearers who had failed to meet the new norms set by the committee. Indian cricket lovers were taken aback by the decision as it was the first major blow that the cricket governing body had ever received. The ugly truth of India ruling the cricket world by not only producing talented cricketers but also controlling powerful stake at International Cricket Council (ICC) was prevailing round the corner. The very reason behind the honorable court’s intervention was the irregularities in most of its member associations. Starting from the financial auditing of their accounts to indulging in group politics to bar former cricketers taking administrative roles, they were accused of several malpractices.
The BCCI is the richest sporting body. However, there is no uniform constitution. Every State has a different constitution that suits the ruling group. There are quite a few associations run by families for decades. Some have family members, trusted friends, relatives and employees of their establishments as voters. One association was even reported to have drivers and canteen staff as voters! With this structure, it was no wonder that respected former cricketer Kapil Dev lost the election of Haryana Cricket Association.
The Supreme Court’s impending decision of complete overhaul was long overdue. With politicians, public servants and government employees debarred from the association, the Lodha Committee has restrained the funding of the candidates. Implementation of the reforms might cause teething problems. But, in the larger interest of the game, the reforms will dismantle the monopoly of the BCCI and Indian cricket will witness a paradigm shift. Here is the spark that will definitely ignite the gentleman’s game for the better.