Court should rid BCCI of its ills

BCCI had to be rapped on its knuckles to awaken it to the damage it had wrought

The day of liberation for Indian cricket cannot be far away. Drunk on the power of the money it could attract, the game had gone away from its roots, abandoning its traditions of fair play and converting itself into something like show business, more proud of its glamorous film world and big business connections than the talent and skills of its players. By meekly submitting to every diktat of its former president, Mr N. Srinivasan, the BCCI and IPL had skated into dangerous territory with regard to conflict of interest. It took the wisdom of two SC judges to see through all the legal arguments and get down to fixing the crux of the problem, which always was the basic conflict of interest involving Mr Srinivasan, his cement company and the star cricketers it signed on at fancy prices, including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The betting and possible spot- and match-fixing games that people in privileged positions, like Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, played also came about because the principle of keeping out conflicts of interest was vitiated by the powers that be. So brazenly defiant was this cosy club of owners that it thought nothing of involving the Indian cricket captain in its complex web to enjoy the spin-offs. Having taken very little action on its own for breach of the first principles of honesty and transparency, the BCCI had to be rapped on its knuckles to awaken it to the damage it had wrought. That it did not even contemplate setting up a proper probe into the betting shenanigans betrayed its intentions.

In the 18 months since the scandals became public knowledge, the BCCI acted only to protect the interests of Mr Srinivasan, who, meanwhile, was also elected as the all-powerful ICC chairman. At a time when it should have been cleaning up, the cricket administration was busy singing paeans to its chief honcho without once acknowledging that the many hats he wore were at the epicentre of all the issues rocking the game. By waiting for the court to set up the Mudgal panel because the BCCI itself had instituted only a pliant probe, cricket had lost its moral authority. The BCCI is being told now how to begin the cleaning-up process, which could be painful if any IPL team is disqualified. The national captain has been dragged into the controversy for the conflicts of interest he has brought into play both in his franchise as well as in his management company. At the root of everything has been the BCCI’s attitudinal problem premised upon its financial independence. It is our fervent hope the top court will spell out the solution because the BCCI refused to live up to its responsibilities as guardian of the game.

( Source : dc )
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