Ganguly draws ire over ties to new IPL team owner

Ganguly's ties to new IPL franchise owner's football club cause 'conflict of interest'

Ganguly is a part of the football club's board of directors of ATK Mohun Bagan FC, in which the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group has 80% stake

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly. Credit: AFP File Photo

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has found himself mired in yet another case of conflict of interest.

The latest in a seemingly growing list of such cases is Ganguly's association with Indian Super League side ATK Mohun Bagan FC, in which the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, owners of the new Lucknow-based IPL franchise, have an 80 per cent stake. The cricketing body chief is a part of the football club's board of directors.

A BCCI source confirmed to The Indian Express that it was a “clear case of conflict” and added that Ganguly needed to realise he is the President of BCCI, not a player.

Interestingly, Goenka in an interview with CNBC TV18 Tuesday said that Ganguly may completely step down from Mohun Bagan, adding that he may vacate his role with the club the following day, only to later withdraw his comment.

Also Read | Ahmedabad, Lucknow two new IPL teams; CVC Capital & RPSG Group highest bidders

Even if Ganguly does step away from his role in Mohun Bagan, his involvement in the bidding process despite being associated with one of the bidders, Goenka, will raise eyebrows.

“When the BCCI, a member, the IPL or a franchisee enter into a contractual agreement with entities in which the individual concerned or his/her relative, partner or close associate has an interest. This is to include cases where family members, partners or close associates are in positions that may or may not be seen to compromise an individual’s participation, performance and discharge of roles,” the apex cricket body's constitution, which was redrafted in 2019, read.

Rule No. 38 of the constitution also deals in detail with Conflict of Interest. Under sub-rule (iii) Commercial Interest, it states: “When the individual enters into endorsement contracts or other professional engagements with third parties, the discharge of which could compromise individual’s primary obligation to the game or allow for a perception that the purity of the game stands compromised.”

Also Read | Team's valuation would be a multiple of a few times over 10 years: Goenka

Ganguly already endorses a fantasy game app that encourages fans to pit their wares, and their money, against him in formalising fantasy teams which may be called betting. The app for which he is the brand ambassador was in direct competition with the 2020 IPL title sponsor.

Another instance of conflict of interest Ganguly has nonchalantly brushed aside is his endorsement of JSW Cements. He and Sunil Chhetri, the Indian football team captain, were roped in to promote the product this June last year by a company that partly owns IPL franchise Delhi Capitals.

Neither Bagan nor Ganguly have made a statement about the conflict of interest. Given Ganguly's previous entanglement in similar matters, it remains to be seen whether he will actually step down from the role.

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