How can the Committee of Administrators (CoA) go against the Supreme Court order and tweak the wording of the constitution? This was one of the common allegations made by the 18 BCCI units that met senior advocate PS Narasimha, the amicus curiae-cum-mediator assisting the apex court in the BCCI case. Narasimha also met with the members of the Committee of Administrators and BCCI chief executive officer Rahul Johri.
The state units said that while the Supreme Court wanted the associations to adopt a constitution that was on “similar lines” to that of the BCCI, the CoA’s draft insisted that it should be a “mirror image”.
Last month, the court had appointed senior advocate Narasimha to handle the applications of all the member associations who had approached it with problems ranging from release of funds to allegations that the new BCCI constitution has “gone beyond” the Lodha reforms.
Sharing their problems with the the amicus curiae, the state associations said that they were finding it tough to run cricket at the grassroots without adequate powers. They also expressed reservations about the powers given to the CEO.
The Lodha committee had suggested that all non-cricketing management should be handled by six professional managers headed by the CEO, while cricketing matters like selection, coaching and performance evaluation were in the hands of former cricketers. The state associations wanted a re-look into this order as they expressed the wish that the office-bearers’ powers be restored.
Their argument was that an elected candidate of an association has more accountability than an employee. It is also understood that state associations want the clause of the CEO’s background waived off. As per Lodha Committee recommendations, which is now BCCI’s new constitution, the CEO needs to have worked in a company with a turnover of at least Rs 100 crore.State associations are fine with BCCI having that clause but for states, they want the amicus to look into it again. State associations gets an annual grant from the BCCI and can’t afford to have a staff whom they can pay a heavy pay cheque. “Each state now gets 32 crore as subsidy annually to run and promote cricket in their respective states. Now if we are getting a CEO who comes from a big multi-national company, he will ask for a heavy salary which the state associations can’t match,” another member argued.
There was also an opinion that the “apex council” structure, conceived by the Lodha committee, w
as conducive to the state bodies. According to the order, the apex council had to consist of five office-bearers – president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, joint secretary – and one association member. It also needed to have cricketers (male and female) nominated from the Cricket Players Association (CPA) along with a member from the Accountant General of the state.
“Each association needs members who can be part of umpires committee, players registration and tournament committee. These are the people who ensure that cricket matches and developmental activities are held at the grassroot level. BCCI doesn’t conduct these games, the state does. For that, associations need manpower in the form of these sub-committees,” a member of the association who met Narasimha said.
Some argued that the implementation of the Lodha reforms amounts to violation of Article 19 (1) (C) of the Constitution that gives citizens the right to form associations. A few associations want a re-look at the age bar that states that individuals over 70 can’t be part of BCCI or state associations.
The associations in Tamil Nadu, Saurashtra, Baroda, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Pondicherry, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Delhi have already met Narasimha while the others’ meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks. The state associations also want an early election.