Conflict of interest in Indian cricket concerns sports minister

Following the revelations of Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar’s contracts with BCCI, Ajay Maken said BCCI should be accountable for its actions in public domain Getty Images

New Delhi: Aug 12, 2011

Sports minister Ajay Maken says he is “deeply concerned” about the conflict of interest in the Indian Cricket Board and even though the government cannot interfere, he feels sports federations should be accountable for their actions.

The issue of conflict of interest came to the fore after it was revealed that former India cricketers and commentators Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri are contracted with the BCCI, and are more often than not bound to toe the board’s line on issues concerning the game.

“I am deeply concerned about the conflict of interest in cricket, but as sports minister I don’t think I should say anything further on it,” Maken said.

“But they should be accountable for their actions which should be in public domain and transparent,” he added.

Asked why he wanted to bring the BCCI under the Right to Information Act, Maken said it was needed to bring transparency.

“The BCCI sends Team India all over the world and does it in the name of the country. The BCCI also happens to be the public face of the country – and a public face has to be a public authority,” he told Outlook magazine.

“Also, cricket involves a huge amount of money and money spent should be in the public domain.”

He said his ministry has prepared the draft National Sports Development Bill, which aims to make all sports federation, including the BCCI, “accountable for all their actions”.

Under the bill, he said, “all sports federation, including the BCCI, be treated as public authorities and sportspersons should comprise 25 per cent representation of all such boards.” (PTI)