Meet the four people appointed by SC to clean up BCCI. They have an onerous task
Few would have envisaged a time when the formidable Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would be overseen by a Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by the Supreme Court.
In the past, the Board has been run by some titans of sports administration, but now, it will be taken over by a quartet which has rarely, if ever, administered sport.
Former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai leads a team that includes former India women's team captain Diana Edulji, historian Ramachandra Guha and investment banker Vikram Limaye, who heads IDFC Ltd.
There will be - as it happens when a sea-change is impending - some doubts if the CoA can accomplish the task set by the Supreme Court. It might have helped if National Selection Committee chairman MSK Prasad, who transformed the Andhra Cricket Association as its CEO, was picked to be part of the CoA, but it is likely that nobody recommended him to the Supreme Court.
One now has to believe that the CoA members will all be single-minded in implementing the Supreme Court's directives, on the basis of the Lodha Committee's recommendations.
Hopefully, the four of them will carve out time from their respective schedules to be able to transform the landscape of cricket administration. It is important that CoA does not drag its feet or plead helplessness in ushering in change. Guha and Limaye, in particular, will have to make an extra effort to devote their time and energy for the CoA to be effective.
Once the CoA sets out to implement the recommendations of the Lodha Committee, it will find that it has been presented with an onerous challenge. The Lodha Committee found it hard to crack that despite the 18 July order of the Supreme Court, which not only approved its recommendations in toto, but also empowered it to ensure that the reforms were carried out in four to six months.
"The supervision of the transition can, in our opinion, be left to be undertaken by the Committee, not only because it has a complete understanding of and insight into the nature of the problems sought to be remedied but also the ability to draw timelines for taking of steps necessary for the implementation of the proposed reforms," the Supreme Court had said.
"We are conscious of the fact that the process may be time-consuming, but we hope that the same should be completed within a period of four months or at best six months from today. We, therefore, request the committee headed by Justice Lodha to draw appropriate timelines for implementation of the recommendations and supervise the implementation thereof," it had said.
Yet, well past the deadline of six months, status quo has remained on several fronts.
Interestingly, while the Lodha Committee had recommended a four-member Steering Committee including former Union Home Secretary GK Pillai and former India players Anil Kumble, Mohinder Amarnath and Edulji herself to oversee the formation of a players' association at the national level, not a step has been taken towards its formation.
Main sticking point
The BCCI general body, which alone can make the statute changes, will need the coming together of the representatives of the affiliated state associations. It implies that the state associations must comply with the Lodha Committee recommendations first, before they can nominate anyone to attend the BCCI general body meeting.
Clearly, reforms in the BCCI can be ushered in only when they have been implemented at the lower level, the state associations. It's a huge task for the CoA to ensure that the state associations restrict the tenures of their office-bearers and prescribe disqualifications, do away with proxy voting, provide transparency in functioning, be open to scrutiny and audit by the BCCI and include players in membership and management, as envisaged by the Lodha Committee.
The four-member CoA will surely need help from more than a few to ensure that all state associations fall in line, so that the BCCI can become Lodha-compliant as well. The Lodha Committee identified that it was important to have a uniformity in the constitution and functioning of the state Associations.
The tenure question
There may be a couple of things that can spawn some confusion. For one, it is still being debated whether an administrator can be a BCCI office-bearer after having been an office-bearer in a state association for a period of nine years. Among the disqualifications specified by the Supreme Court is a nine-year limit in the BCCI or a state association, but there seems to be some ambiguity.
To begin with, the Supreme Court had ruled out anyone who has been a BCCI office-bearer for a cumulative period of nine years. Then on 3 January, it modified that clause to read "has been an office-bearer of the BCCI or a state association for a cumulative period of nine years."
In seeking to dispel any ambiguity, the Supreme Court amended that on 20 January to read: "Has been an office-bearer of the BCCI for nine years or a state association for the same period."
Some, like vice-president CK Khanna, joint secretary (and officiating secretary) Amitabh Choudhary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry interpreted the change as their right to be in office for nine years in the BCCI, though they have been office-bearers in their state associations for more than nine years.
Order will emerge from chaos
From a distance, it appears as if some anarchy will reign for a while in the BCCI portals. But if the CoA approaches its task diligently and sets itself realistic deadlines to achieve that, order will prevail and the revenues generated by cricket will find more equitable and fair utilisation than has been the case thus far.
As Indian cricket administration prepares to step in, gingerly as it were, into the 21st century and embraces modern governance and management methods - with the CoA and the Supreme Court playing the role of catalysts - there will be doubts and confusion.
But as with most things in our country, it is more likely than not that order will emerge from the chaos that confronts the BCCI now.
Edited by Shreyas Sharma