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BCCI cherry-picks from Lodha recommendations

BCCI president Anurag Thakur said some members had "legal challenges and practical difficulties" in accepting some Lodha Committee recommendations AFP

The BCCI has said it "unanimously" adopted "important recommendations" made by the Lodha Committee at its Special General Meeting (SGM) in Mumbai on October 1. However, the list the board said it had accepted did not include key recommendations such as the age cap of 70 years for board officials, the tenure cap of nine years with cooling-off periods in between, and the one-state-one-vote policy, among others.

The BCCI's move would appear to be against the Supreme Court order, which said that all of the Lodha report's recommendations passed by the court on July 18 - and not a selection - would have to be adopted by the board.

The SGM in Mumbai, which was originally supposed to be on September 30 but was adjourned on a technicality, lasted about six hours, at the end of which BCCI president Anurag Thakur said there were "legal challenges and practical difficulties" in accepting some recommendations of the Lodha Committee.

"Wherever they [members] find legal challenges and practical difficulties, they have given their viewpoints and have not accepted those recommendations," Thakur said. "If you look at the overall structure of the BCCI, it is the members who form the board. As far as Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke [the board secretary] are concerned, we were there just to convene the meeting. It is up to the members to accept or reject. We've invited members to adopt the Lodha recommendations and members have given their viewpoints."

Thakur said a detailed report would be submitted in the Supreme Court and sent to the Lodha Committee. "[The report would be about] what the members have felt, and why they have accepted and not accepted a few recommendations."

Although no one from the Lodha Committee was available for a comment, a senior lawyer, who has followed and been party to the BCCI case, did not agree with the board's stance. "The Supreme Court has passed a judgement. Today the BCCI is saying there are parts of which we are rejecting. There is no question of accepting or not. The directive of the court to the BCCI is: you will adopt the amendments," the lawyer said. According to him the BCCI's defiance will further empower the court, which had already warned the BCCI more than once to "fall in line."

In a media release following the SGM, the BCCI listed the following among the recommendations they had accepted from the Lodha report:

  • The induction of the representative of the Comptroller and Auditor General as the member of the Apex Council and the IPL Governing Council

  • The formation of the Apex Council - to replace the working committee, according to the Lodha report - with certain modifications

  • The various committees as recommended by the Lodha Committee including the special committee for the differently abled and the women's committee.

  • The formation of the Players Association and their representation on the Committee.

  • Unanimous voting rights to the Associate members as per the ICC guidelines

  • Puducherry (Pondicherry) to be granted associate membership of the BCCI

  • A Code of Conduct for players and team officials, Anti-Doping Code, Anti-Racism Code, Anti-Corruption Code and Operational Rules for implementation for the next IPL season

  • Implement player-agent registration norms

According to the Lodha Committee, the decisions taken by the BCCI at its AGM - including the appointment of a five-member selection panel and the election of Shirke as secretary - on September 21 were "contrary" to the court order issued on July 18 by TS Thakur, the Chief Justice of India, and Supreme Court judge Ibrahim Kallifulla.

The BCCI had been given one week from September 28 to respond in court to the status report filed by the Lodha Committee, which had recommended that the Supreme Court supersede the BCCIs top brass because they were impeding the implementing of the recommendations.

The Committee had also taken exception to the BCCI announcing the SGM on September 30. The BCCI, Lodha said, was supposed to hold an executive general body meeting (EGM) by September 28, when it would adopt the new Memorandum of Association and Rules (MoA), the first step needed to adopt the recommendations of the Lodha Committee. Instead Shirke had written to the Committee on September 22 stating the BCCI would "consider" the amendments suggested at the SGM.

The Lodha Committee - comprising former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and retired Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and R Raveendran - was formed in January 2015 to determine appropriate punishments for some of the officials involved in the 2013 IPL corruption scandal, and also to propose changes to streamline the BCCI, reform its functioning, prevent sporting fraud and conflict of interest.