BCCI should enforce apex court remarks

While the Supreme Court is yet to give its ruling on BCCI president-in-exile N Srinivasan’s role in the Indian Premier League’s administrative affairs, the proceedings in the case have exposed conflict of interests of different kinds of various cricketing personalities associated with the BCCI and the IPL.

Srinivasan’s position as the BCCI president and the owner the Chennai Super Kings is at the heart of the situation, but the court has noted that former cricketers were also involved in the IPL in roles which presented a clash of their commercial interests with the responsibilities that went with their positions.

The present and past roles of some well-known cricketers have come into scrutiny in this respect. The BCCI provided to the court the names of former players who have a commercial interest in the IPL and but held positions which would not have been appropriate in view of those interests.

The BCCI list includes Sunil Gavaskar, K Srikkanth, Brijesh Patel, Anil Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad, Ravi Shastri, among others. Some of them, like Gavaskar and Shastri,  were commentators  who drew remunerations while they were members of the IPL governing council.

Kumble was a player, mentor of two different teams and a member of the ICC technical committee. Srikkanth’s position provided the most obvious case of a clash of interests. He was the brand ambassador of the CSK when he was also a national team selector. The court was particularly critical of this.

The BCCI’s argument that the position of the selector came first and post of mentor, etc came later and therefore, there was no conflict, is wrong. Conflict of interest has nothing to do with the sequence of appointment to the positions.

The BCCI also cited the position of the national cricket team’s captain (who, in that position, gets consulted on team selection). He was also director of India Cements. This also does not provide any justification. In fact, if there is any conflict of interest in the positions and actions of the national team’s captain that also should be scrutinised.

As the court said, these conflicts of interests of past players are different from the kind of conflict that a person who has an official position in the BCCI. The court’s observations regarding conflict of interests needs to be welcomed and now, it is the turn of the BCCI and the IPL to take them in right spirit and enforce them.

This is the least that the cash-rich body, thick in controversy over the past couple of years, can do to uphold the gentleman’s game and its spirit.

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