Manohar vows to clean up BCCI

Manohar vows to clean up BCCI

Newly elected Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Shashank Manohar on Sunday announced a slew of reforms to improve the image of one of the richest sporting bodies.

He also ensured measures to tackle corruption and assured appointment of an ombudsman to look into the contentious issue of conflict of interest.

“My first priority is to clean the image of the board and restore the faith of fans,” he said in his first interaction at board headquarters Cricket Centre at Wankhede Stadium.

The 58-year-old from the Sharad Pawar camp, who had the support of the Anurag Thakur group, was the only one to have filed the nomination on Saturday. At the Special General Meeting on Sunday, he was formally elected unopposed for a period that will end in 2017. All six units of the East Zone, including the Cricket Association of Bengal, proposed Manohar's candidature.

“The BCCI is a huge brand in itself because of the love of fans and cricket-loving people. In the last few days, this confidence was shaken due to some unpleasant things that happened. My job is to bring it back to its original reputation,” said Manohar, adding that he must be given two months' time to settle things.

Among the first measures he announced was tackling the issue of conflict of interest.
“As regards the conflict of interest issue involving administrators, players and staff, the board will soon issue guidelines. We will also appoint an ethics officer or ombudsman,” said Manohar, who replaces Jagmohan Dalmiya, who passed away on September 20, necessitating the elections.

On issues like corruption, he said: “We will lay down norms to counter corruption in the game. We will have programmes to educate players. The secretary (Anurag Thakur) is an MP. Through him we will like to meet government officials. The board does not have the power to investigate.”

On the issue of the money affiliates and units make, he said a proper auditing system would be put in place.

“We will bring about transparency. Constitution, rules, Rs 25 lakh-plus expenditure and balance sheets will be put up on the BCCI website,” he said, adding: “We have to clear myths and perceptions.” 

The board's records, he said, would be made available at the BCCI headquarters.
While Manohar said the board would be made more transparent, he made it clear that it would not come under the Right to Information (RTI). “Under Article 12 of the Constitution, we are not a state, (but) our functions are akin to a state. That's why the Supreme Court has held that we are performing a public deed. We are a private body despite performing a public deed, and therefore each and every board activity need not be disclosed,” he said.

“We will not come under the RTI because law cannot apply to one institution. The RTI is an Act. To whom it applies is defined by two contingencies. As the law exists, it applies only to state governments, institutions controlled by Centre or state governments or those substantially aided by the government. We do not fall in either of these categories, and the RTI cannot apply to us. If the government amends the law, then yes,” said Manohar.

“There could be fans of filmstars who would want to know everything about them. Does that mean the RTI applies to filmstars because we are fans and we spend money to watch films?” he said.

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