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Conflict issue: Here's what Ganguly & Co suggested to BCCI

By Harish Kotian
August 19, 2019 18:44 IST

'Maybe we could have a scenario wherein if a player has a short-term contract like the IPL, maybe he can be allowed to do commentary after the IPL is over.'

Sourav Ganguly

IMAGE: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has asked the COA to clarify their stand on the Conflict of Interest issue. Photograph: BCCI

Conflict of Interest was once again the talking point as a few former and current India players, including ex-captain Sourav Ganguly, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Rohan Gavaskar and Parthiv Patel met the Committee of Administrators, in Mumbai on Monday.

The conflict of interest issue has affected quite a few former cricketers, including greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Ganguly, with all of them getting notices in the recent past following complaints.

COA members Diana Edulji and Lt Gen (Retd) Ravi Thodge attended Monday’s meeting on behalf of the BCCI, in Mumbai.

According to a player present in the meeting who didn’t wish to be named, the players are hopeful of the BCCI arriving at a solution "within the next month".

The players' group which attended the meeting, stated that it was unfair on the player, who is just part of the IPL -- which runs for around two months -- to be not allowed to do anything else for the rest of the year due to the conflict of interest issue.

As per the new BCCI constitution, one person should have only one post to avoid violating the Conflict of Interest clause.

 

The dual roles played by former and current players like doing commentary and playing/mentoring in IPL/domestic cricket or coaching in the IPL or being a part of support staff or holding an administrative post in the IPL franchise, have all come under the scanner.

The players' group has suggested a few options like having a short-term contract only for the duration of the IPL, so the cricketer is free to do commentary or coaching assignment for the rest of the year.

“We discussed things like if a player, who is only playing domestic cricke and is holding two positions, technically he doesn't have a contract with the BCCI. Maybe we could have a scenario wherein if a player has a short-term contract like the IPL, maybe he can be allowed to do commentary after the IPL is over,” the player told Rediff.com on the condition of anonymity.

Citing the example of Dravid, who recently got a notice from the BCCI ethics officer DK Jain, Ganguly sought clarity from the COA on the issue.

Former India captain Dravid faced the conflict of interest charge after he was named head of the National Cricket Academy, following a complaint from Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) life member Sanjeev Gupta.

According to the complaint, Dravid was allegedly conflicted as he was the National Cricket Academy director and also employed as vice-president of the India Cements Group, which owns the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings.

The COA has cleared Dravid's appointment as Head of Cricket at the NCA, ruling that there is "no conflict of interest" case against him. However, BCCI Ombudsman-cum-ethics officer DK Jain is expected to take a final decision in the matter.

Ganguly, who attended the meeting via video-conferencing, wanted to know the BCCI and COA’s stand on the Dravid issue.

“He believes that there is no conflict of interest as far as Dravid is concerned, but there is no clarity on the same,” said the player.

All the players who attended the meeting were unanimous in their stand that players should be allowed to take up positions in cricket even though they are employed with big firms.

A lot of cricketers are employed by big companies like BPCL or Tata, where they work for a long time even after their cricketing career is over. A player's cricketing career is not that long so they need that kind of security, they told the COA.

They came up with another suggestion that when they are part of something short-term like IPL, maybe they can take a cooling-off period from their employers during that time.

However, the COA has made it clear that there will no immediate changes as it will require amendments in the BCCI constitution, which can only be done after getting approval from the Supreme Court.

In fact, Edulji after the meeting said that a "white paper" will be prepared detailing the issues and the matter will be discussed with the Supreme Court.

"All the issues were discussed -- what are the problems being faced by cricketers, what are the problems being faced by us (the administrators) to implement it. It was a vibrant discussion," Edulji said.

"There are some genuine difficulties which our cricketers face. We may not agree to certain things but certain things we have to agree. So, those are the issues that we wanted to gather from them and that was the purpose of this meeting," Thodge said.

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com
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