KOLKATA: The day after the Supreme Court brushed aside all objections raised by the BCCI pertaining to the Justice RM Lodha committee recommendations and dismissed the cricket board’s president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke, there was a sense of panic in the state associations.
The state bodies, having stonewalled the implementation of reforms since July last year, suddenly find themselves with no further room to manoeuvre. Most state-level officials, realising that they have no choice but to amend their respective constitutions – in line with Lodha panel’s recommendations -and hold fresh elections, have stirred into action. Legal eagles are poring over various sections and sub-sections that need to be amended in order to bring in more transparency in the administration of the game at all levels.
The apex court order has rendered scores of officials at virtually every state association redundant. The age cap of 70 years, which kicked in on Monday itself, summarily ended the administrative careers of BCCI heavyweights like Sharad Pawar (Mumbai), N Srinivasan (TN), IS Bindra (Punjab), MP Pandove (Punjab), Niranjan Shah (Saurashtra), G Ganga Raju (Andhra), Chirayu Amin (Baroda), Farooq Abdullah, ML Nehru (J&K) and Ashirbad Behera (Odisha).
And there are several others who have been forced into cooling periods, having not only completed nine-year tenures (with mandatory breaks) -the maximum stipulated by the Lodha panel -but also overshot it many times over. It is virtually the end of the road for Thakur and Shirke, who have been at the helm of Himachal and Maharashtra for well over a decade. Ditto for player-turned administrators like Brijesh Patel (Karnataka), Chetan Chau han (Delhi) and Ranjib Biswal (Odisha). Chauhan, incidentally, is only six months shy of his 70th birthday.
With the cream of Indian cricket administration caught and bowled by Lodha and even the second-string officials too standing disqualified for overstaying their welcome, the state associations will finally cease to be fiefdoms of a few. They can now look at bringing in fresh faces, not only from the cricket world but also other fields in order to boost professionalism in the ranks. But with virtually every past and present official out of the reckoning, the million-dollar question is who will be the next BCCI president? There was a buzz about Sourav Ganguly as the media and even Sunil Gavaskar saw him as a possible candidate to lead the BCCI. But Ganguly himself quashed the speculation by saying that he didn’t qualify for the job. The former India captain, who returned from a vacation in London on Monday evening, said: “My name is coming up in the media unnecessarily. I have just completed one year (as the CAB president) and have got two more years left.”
The Lodha panel clearly stipulates that any official wishing to take up another post – at the state level or at the BCCI – after completing his three-year tenure will have to go through a mandatory three-year cooling period. There was some ambiguity about whether the cooling-off period would be applicable to officials wishing to move from state to the BCCI platform, but the Lodha panel subsequently made its stand clear through a set of FAQs.
While clarifying that the period as officebearer under the state will not be counted towards the period as an office-bearer in the BCCI and vice-versa, the Lodha panel stated: “Technically one individual can be an officebearer at the state association for 9 years and separately an office bearer councillor at the BCCI for another 9 years, subject of course to the cooling-off period after each term.”
FAQ: Can a person be a state association secretary for 3 years, and then immediately following that tenure, or within 3 years, thereof become a BCCI councillor office-bearer?
Ans: The cooling-off period applies after every 3 years to an office-bearer, whether at the state association or at the BCCI. During the cooling-off period of 3 years, no office-bearer councillor post may be held by the individual either in the BCCI or the state association.
Source: Times of India