BCCI's state associations looking to reject one state, one vote recommendation of Lodha Committee © Getty Images
BCCI’s state associations looking to reject one state, one vote recommendation of Lodha Committee © Getty Images

 

As Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) assemble for Special General Meeting (SGM) to discuss the Justice RM Lodha Committee report, the state associations are in no mood to fight over the report. The associations are fine with age restriction clause, and the restriction on the number of terms of administrator, but are opposing over one state, one vote recommendations. Speaking informally with The Indian Express, officials from various state associations have come to terms with accepting with administrator terms not moving above 70 years and and three-terms cap suggestion. READ: MPCA to adhere to BCCI decision on Lodha Committee’s recommendations

However, the main argument lies on just a single vote and states like Maharashtra and Gujarat have three associations. The report also proposes that the BCCI relegate the additional associations and others such as Railways and Services to non-voting Associate members. “We respect the Lodha panel and are giving importance to it. State associations do have their own problems in their minds. We will have a discussion on it and a practical view will be taken,” Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla said. The consensus among the Indian cricket hierarchy, and also the state associations, is that the absolute implementation of the Lodha report is “impossible”, for it would be “against the very fabric of the BCCI”.

Orissa Cricket Associations (OCA) have urged all states and affiliates to join hands with parent body as mentioned by OCA secretary Ashirward Behera and become a party to the case as the cricket board has been asked by the Supreme Court to file its response by March 3 regarding the absolute implementation of the committee recommendations. Behera will put forth this report to board members to become intervenor now that BCCI mulls legal options to safeguard it’s existing structure. “Yes, this would be my proposal at the SGM. State associations have their own constitutions, but here we are fighting a common battle and we should be a direct party to it,” Behera said. READ: BCCI not looking for escape route from Lodha Committee recommendations: Anurag

A former BCCI legal counsel believes that if the SGM stands united against the cricket body’s structural overhaul, it would be difficult for the apex court to thrust upon some of the recommendations, for that would be “violative of the Fundamental Rights under the Constitution of India and law of the land. Going by the Supreme Court’s clarification on Fundamental Rights, the BCCI has the ‘right to be continued to be associated with only those whom the members voluntarily admit into the association’. Simply put, it’s the cricket board’s discretion, which association gets the affiliation and which one is left out. Also, right to form an association is a Fundamental Right which falls under Article 19 (I) (C),” said the lawyer.

The bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice FMI Kalifullah, has directed BCCI to follow the report. The judges have found the Lodha committee recommendations straight, rational and understandable which deserves repsect. They also said “there is no reason to disagree with the committee. The observations came with a warning that if the cricket administrators fail to act then the court will have the same committee to implement the recommendations. What the judges (the two-member bench) said the other day was just an advice, not an order,” said the ex-board counsel. BCCI vice-president G Gangaraju, secretary of Andhra Cricket Association, intend to pick and choose the clauses from Lodha and accordingly implement. READ: Sourav Ganguly-led CAB rejects 10 reccomendations of the Lodha Committee

“Yes, we have to pick and choose. Some recommendations like transparency and adhering to the code of ethics are very acceptable. At the same time, we have to safeguard our foundation. So we can’t implement the clauses that intend to overhaul the whole system. The BCCI wouldn’t have been the best cricket body in the world riding on a faulty system,” he said, adding: “We don’t want any confrontation. At the same time, we have every right to protect our own interest. Also, this is a major issue and the members need to discuss it threadbare, which requires time. I think the court will give us time.” The BCCI had asked state associations to discuss the Lodha Committee report, seek legal opinion and send their feedback. Some associations have already responded while some are yet to give their feedback.

The emergent working meeting committee is expected to be a heated affair as South Zone will question Shashank Manohar regarding ICC revamp without seeking board’s view or approval. Manohar said the financial formula where the big three India, England and Australia took the major share of the revenue pie from world cricket would be discontinued and equal distribution would take place. Not much to surprise, many state associations didn’t like the idea of Manohar as they would be financially hit after the revenue reduction. The associations are also in confusion as to why Manohar gave 6% of revenue share of Indian Board back to ICC.