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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Lodha panel suggests bar on ministers in BCCI, legalising betting

Lodha panel suggests bar on ministers in BCCI, legalising betting

Last updated on: January 04, 2016 15:28 IST

- 'One association of each state will be full member and have right to vote.'

- 'As far as Betting alone is concerned, many of the respondents before the Committee were of the view that it would serve both the game and economy if it were legalized as has been done in the United Kingdom.'

- 'We have recommended the legislature must seriously consider bringing BCCI within the purview of the RTI Act.'

- 'As regards the office bearers of BCCI - President, vice-president, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer, certain eligibility criteria has been fixed like, he must be an Indian, he must not be above age of 70, he must not be insolvent, he must not be a minister or a government servant.'

- 'Day to day management of the BCCI will be conducted by the CEO. He will be assisted by six professional managers and the team of CEO and managers will be accountable to the apex council.'

IMAGE: Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha (centre) speaks during a press conference in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI

The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee on Monday recommended sweeping reforms for the controversy-ridden Board of Control for Cricket in India, suggesting a bar on ministers occupying positions, putting a cap on the age and tenure of the office-bearers and legalising betting.

- Report of Lodha Committee on Reforms in Cricket - Final Report, Volume 1

Report of Lodha Committee on Reforms in Cricket - Final Report, Volume 2

In a series of drastic reforms, the three-member panel, headed by Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha, also suggested one unit should represent one state, while taking away the voting rights of institutional and city-based units.

The committee also suggested the restructuring of the BCCI's administrative set-up, proposing the position of a CEO accountable to a nine-member apex council.

The panel submitted a 159-page report to the Supreme Court, which will decide whether the recommendations will be binding on the BCCI.

Lodha said he held 38 meetings with BCCI officials, cricketers and other stakeholders.

"First thing is about the structure and the constitution. As you know, presently the BCCI has 30 full members. Some of these members do not have any territory like Services, Railways etc. Some of them do not play tournaments. Some of the states have multiple members like Maharashtra has three, Gujarat has three. BCCI is a national body covering the length, breadth and width of the country. So ultimately, in our recommendations, we have gone by the concept that one association of each state will be full member and have right to vote," Lodha said, as he gave detailed explanations on the recommendations.

"The Committee is of the view that it be left to the BCCI to decide which of the 3 associations from Gujarat and Maharashtra would be taken to represent the entire State, and the remaining 2 associations from each State would become Associate Members, who would however continue to field teams for competitions as they have done in the past," says the report.

"As the Services, Railways and Universities have hitherto enjoyed Full Member rights although they do not represent a particular State, the Committee recommends that they be accorded the status of Associate Member so that their views may still be considered while they will not have voting rights. The same principle would apply to the Clubs (CCI and NCC), which do not field cricket teams and have no cause to be treated as Full Members," it further adds.

Among the most sensational recommendations by the Lodha panel was the suggestion to legalize betting. It felt that the move would help curb corruption in the game and recommended that except for players and officials, people should be allowed to place bets on registered sites.

"As far as betting alone is concerned, many of the respondents before the Committee were of the view that it would serve both the game and economy if it were legalized as has been done in the United Kingdom. It cannot be overlooked that the worldwide legal sports betting market is worth over 400 billion dollars," the report says.

The panel said that to ensure transparency in the BCCI's functioning, it is important to bring the body under the purview of the Right to Information Act, something that the Board has vehemently opposed in the past citing its autonomy.

"Since the BCCI performs public functions, people have the right to know the functions and facilities and other activities of the BCCI and therefore in our opinion whether RTI Act is applicable to BCCI or BCCI is amenable to RTI is sub-judice. We have recommended the legislature must seriously consider bringing BCCI within the purview of the RTI Act."

Putting a cap on the age and tenure of the BCCI office-bearers, the committee said that Board members should not hold office for more than three terms.

Justice Lodha said that the President can have only two terms of three years each but other office bearers can have three terms. There will be a compulsory cooling off period after each term for all office-bearers.

"As regards the office bearers of BCCI - President, vice-president, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer, certain eligibility criteria has been fixed like, he must be an Indian, he must not be above age of 70, he must not be insolvent, he must not be a minister or a government servant and who has not held office in the BCCI for a cumulative period for nine years.

"The present system gives as many as three votes to the President of BCCI - the first is as person representing a State Association which is a permanent Member of BCCI, the second as chairman of the meeting under Rule 5(i) and the third is a casting vote in the event of a tie, vide Rule 21. While his vote as representing a permanent member of BCCI and his vote in the event of a tie are fair and permissible, provision of additional vote as chairman of the meeting requires to be deleted."

As part of its proposed revamp of the BCCI's administrative set-up, the panel said the Board's everyday affairs should be run by a CEO. The panel said there should also be a players' association to ensure that cricketers have a say in the Board's functioning.

"There should be an apex council for the BCCI comprising of nine members, of which five should be elected, two should be representatives of players association, and one woman. Day to day management of the BCCI will be conducted by the CEO. He will be assisted by six professional managers and the team of CEO and managers will be accountable to the apex council."

Lodha said the players' association will be formed by a steering committee, headed by former Home Secretary G K Pillai, and comprising former captains Mohinder Amarnath and Anil Kumble along with former women's cricketer Diana Edulji.

The committee said the players' association will include all those who have played first-class cricket.

Lodha said the players' association will not be redundant body and will ensure that the current and former cricketers have a voice in the Board.

"Most of the players who have played first-class, both men and women, and who have retired from competitive cricket will be in this association. This association shall be assigned functions and will be constituted and run with the financial support of the BCCI. However, they will not act as a minion. The idea is to give players voice, use their expertise and skills for the development and betterment of the game."

On to the IPL, which has been battling a credibility crisis ever since the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, the Panel recommended a revamp of its Governing Council.

"Regarding the IPL, the recommendation is that the chief governing body will be known as the Governing Council, which will comprise nine members. The Secretary and the Treasurer of the BCCI will be ex-officio members of this IPL governing council.

"Two other members of the IPL Governing Council will be nominated/elected by the full members. Of the remaining five, two will be the nominees of franchises, one will be a representative of the players association (so one needs to be formed), one will be a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India's office.

"The Governing Council of IPL will be entitled to take all decisions concerning IPL, which includes the decision relating to financial matters. However, Governing Council will be answerable to the General body of the BCCI. So limited autonomy is proposed for the IPL GC."

The panel gave a clean chit to former IPL COO Sundar Raman in connection with the 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal, citing lack of evidence against him.

"There was not enough evidence against Sundar Raman and no knowledge of him knowing Vindoo (Dara Singh)," said Justice Lodha while reading out parts of the report.

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