Lodha panel suggests legalised betting, restructuring of the troubled cricket board.

New Delhi : The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee on Monday recommended sweeping reforms and an administrative shake-up for the troubled BCCI by suggesting that ministers be barred from occupying positions, a cap put on the age and tenure of office-bearers and legalisation of betting. The 159-page report by the three-member committee comprising former Chief Justice Lodha, Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice R V Raveendran – former judges of the Supreme Court – also proposed that the 14-member BCCI working committee should be replaced by an apex council. According to the panel, the apex council should comprise nine members, consisting of BCCI office bearers, and elected representatives of the general body, two members from the players’ association and a nominee from the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). Ministers and government officials should be barred from holding positions in the BCCI, the report added.

The panel proposed that the BCCI should be brought under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The BCCI has opposed the move in the past, citing its autonomy. The various proposals in the Lodha Committee’s report to the apex court include separate governing bodies for the BCCI and the Indian Premier League (IPL) so as to partially segregate their functioning. The Lodha panel also suggested limiting the autonomy of the Indian Premier League (IPL). According to the report, the IPL governing body should be of nine members with the secretary and the treasurer of the BCCI as its ex-officio members. Two other members of the IPL governing council should be nominated or elected by the full members. Two should be the nominees of franchises, one be a representative of the players association (that is to be formed), and one a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. There is also a proposal to impose an age limit of 70 years and a maximum of three tenures for officials. “There must be a cooling off period of three years between tenures,” Lodha said during a media briefing here on Monday.

The panel stressed that one representation for one state is a fair idea as was the suggestion that each state should have only one association as a full member of the BCCI and have a right to vote.  Other members from a state, or those without territory or competitive presence — Services, Railways, CCI, NCC — should be relegated to associate status without voting rights in the BCCI, it said. The committee also proposed the introduction of a CEO assisted by a team of six professional managers to handle the day-to-day non-cricketing affairs of the BCCI. They will be responsible to an apex council of nine members — five elected and two players’ representatives. Issues related to the selection, coaching, performance evaluation and umpiring are to be handled by cricket committees manned only by former players. The committee said there was lack of evidence against former IPL Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sundar Raman in connection with the 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal. Lodha also reckoned that a robust agent registration system would safeguard players. There will be a steering committee to include former star all-rounder Mohinder Amarnath, former India women’s captain Diana Eduljee, and legendary leg-spinner and former Test skipper Anil Kumble. They will take up matter with the BCCI for formation of the players’ association in the light of suggestions from the report.

Implications Pawar can’t be Prez; Manohar can’t vote

New Delhi: If the Supreme Court decides to make sweeping reforms suggested by Justice RM Lodha committee binding, it could well mean the end of the road in sports administration for Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar while current president Shashank Manohar may lose his voting rights. The implications of reforms suggested by the committee can be far-reaching and will also affect a lot of state association bosses, who have been in power since time immemorial. Some of the reforms are in line with the proposed National Sports Development Code.

Report has not minced words 

By and large Indian cricket fraternity sighed in relief over the contents of the Lodha Committee Report which was submitted to the Supreme Court by the BCCI on Monday. Determined to sweep away the cobwebs which had dirtied the game for several years, the contents of the report while fulfilling the need to use the Big Broom to cleanse the BCCI mess, including the massive corruption in which cricket had got mired, did not mince matters and nothing was swept under the carpet.

At last, cricket lovers could feel they were offered an opportunity to watch the game they loved passionately. Commercial interests and corruption were pushed back. Uncrowned kings of the BCCI and their kith and kin who had bled the game white, it was hoped would be put in their place. Sponsors, corporate honchos and their chamchas would not strut around. The report as was to be expected did not mince words and came out with crystal clarity. Each state will have one cricket association and those without any territory will not have any votes in the BCCI electoral process which will be open only to the full member association of the BCCI. The daily management of the BCCI will be in the hands of six professional managers and two CEOs with adequate experience in accounts. The IPL Chief Executive Council will be responsible for running the organisation.

The BCCI Electoral office will oversee the entire electoral process and hold elections for all major and minor elections. It will be headed by a former election commissioner. Conflict of Interest issue will be of two types – political and practical and their powers will be clearly defined and the electoral office will have nothing to do with the governing Councils of the BCCI Steering Committee members will have an upper age limit of 70 and can enjoy six terms but not continuously. Team selection will be in the hands of former international players. Politics and politicians will no longer have any role to play in the BCCI and IPL affairs. The report made it clear that the BCCI affairs would fall under the ambit of the Right to Information Act. The recommendations sprang a surprise of completely exonerating Sundar Raman, former CEO of the IPL who was supposed to have a finger in every pie. This is not likely to go down well with cricket lovers but speaks well of the staying powers of South Indian secretaries.

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