The friction between the Board of Control for Cricket in India's top brass and the Committee of Administrators (COA) again came to the forefront when the distribution of complimentary passes for the third India-Sri Lanka T20 International led to a tussle between the two sides.
As per the BCCI rulebook, the president is entitled to 50 complimentary passes, including hospitality tickets, the secretary has 75 and the treasurer gets seven passes for matches.
What has come under scanner is COA's letter written a couple of months back 'requesting' acting president CK Khanna and acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary to part with 25 complimentary passes each for the stakeholders during every international match.
The trouble, however, happened with the upcoming third and final India-Sri Lanka T20 International in Mumbai on December 24.
All the stakeholders, from various sponsors to official broadcasters, have been allocated their share of complimentary passes. However, a section of the BCCI is asking 'who are these unnamed stakeholders' for whom passes are being sought by the COA.
These BCCI officials, who are now currently running the show, were aggrieved that acting president Khanna had collected his 50 passes for the Mumbai T20 game without parting with his share of 25 passes that he was ordered to give back for the 'unnamed stakeholders'.
Once he refused, one among the three most influential officials in the BCCI at the moment, threatened to 'block those tickets' in possession of Khanna and even asked the Mumbai Cricket Association to do so.
MCA, on its part, informed that it can't block premium tickets and reprint them at such a short notice.
"If the rulebook is strictly followed, Khanna can't be faulted for collecting his entire share of passes. The COA letter specifically says 'request' and any office-bearer is well within his rights to decline such a request," a senior official, who is aware of the rules, said on condition of anonymity.
In fact, PTI is in possession of the complete allocation list for the stakeholders.
Title Sponsors PayTm gets 50 passes (25 hospitality and 25 next best category). Among official Partners -- Hyundai is allocated 30 (10 Hospitality), Pepsico gets 40 (20 Hospitality) and Jana Bank gets 15 (5 Hospitality) passes each.
Team Sponsors Oppo Mobiles gets 50 with half of them being Hospitality passes. Broadcasters Star India gets 74 passes (24 Hospitality) while kit sponsors Nike gets only 25 Hospitality passes.
Apart from them, former Test cricketers, residing at the venue of the matches, get two passes while the home team and the visiting team get 125 passes each and 25 more hospitality passes for spouses and VIP guests of players.
The BCCI production team and panel umpires also get their share of complimentary tickets
This is where a section of BCCI officials are raising questions alleging that COA is trying to arm-twist some of the office-bearers to part with a share of their passes.
"If every stakeholders' share is specified then why are the office-bearers being told to part with their share of passes? All we want to know is that who are these stakeholders. Their names are not minuted and the General Body is not aware of them," the official raised some pertinent questions.
Calls and text messages to COA member Diana Edulji went unanswered.
IMAGE: BCCI acting president CK Khanna