The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators is “optimistic” that it would wrap its job of helping the BCCI and state associations implement the Lodha Committee recommendations by October. Vinod Rai, chairman of the four-member panel, reiterated he does not see a long-term place for the CoA in the BCCI, stressing the committee’s motive is to institute systems within the Indian board that can replace its current personality-oriented structure.
“It is still a long haul, but that ends in October,” Rai told ESPNcricinfo, after the committee completed 100 days in the job. “I am very realistic, because I don’t see a place for the CoA in the BCCI in the long term. We want to provide a structure to the BCCI. It does not have one right now. It is run by individual styles. It is personality-oriented. We will put a structure in place and ensure that there are systems that will make this structure work.”
Rai, the former Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, was appointed to the panel, along with historian Ramachandra Guha, former India women’s captain Diana Edulji, and managing director and CEO of IDFC (Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation) Vikram Limaye. The committee was appointed on January 30 and began functioning on February 1.
The need for the committee came about after the Supreme Court removed Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke from the posts of BCCI president and secretary respectively, for not implementing the majority of the Lodha Committee’s recommendations despite the court’s order of July 2016. The court’s decision also affected the eligibility of office-bearers in the BCCI’s state units. The CoA was given a mandate to oversee the running of the BCCI until fresh elections could be held for the office-bearers’ posts, in line with the Lodha reforms.
Rai said the CoA had spent the first couple of months engaged in issues like defining the exact powers of the committee, organisation of the IPL and the ICC’s Board meetings, and had only recently met state associations to address their concerns about the Lodha Committee recommendations. Rai said that the state units still had reservations on recommendations like the one-state-one-vote policy and the 70-year age-cap for administrators.
“Each one of them has a viewpoint and all of them have filed cases against the recommendations,” he said. “I told them one fine day the court might wake up and throw every objection out and just say, ‘You don’t want to convene the AGM? Okay, [new] constitution is adopted. Full stop.’ Then they are stuck.
“I told them when they still had the time why don’t they think and then the COA will tell the court that out of the say 20 recommendations, 18 are adopted. The court might just accede or may not, but at least you will give the court the impression that by and large you have accepted the recommendations.”
More recently, the CoA had to step in to resolve the uncertainty around India’s participation in the Champions Trophy, after the board missed the April 25 deadline to submit its squad. While the BCCI stressed that the delay was due to operational issues, the delay was also linked to its unhappiness with the ICC meetings in April, where the BCCI was outvoted as a new constitution, governance structure and financial model were approved. The financial model, which significantly cuts into the BCCI’s share of ICC revenues, and the governance structure were major points of contention, with India’s participation in the Champions Trophy likely being used as a bargaining chip.
Before the special general meeting last week, where the board unanimously decided on the participation of the team, the CoA warned the BCCI that it would not hesitate to intervene if decisions at the SGM hurt the interests of Indian cricket or threatened ongoing negotiations with the ICC over a revised share of revenue.
“It [May 6] was the first time I was meeting the state associations. So that was my opening gambit, to say to them, ‘Look, we need to be in conversation with each other.’ They are all positively oriented, thinking people. The only thing is their thinking and their perspective was exceedingly narrow,” Rai said. “They just did not know that there was an ICC governance model and a finance model. And the finance model, as far as we are concerned, is crumbs.
“I told them if the BCCI members had decided to withdraw from the ICC on the basis of the differences on the governance model, the CoA will back them. But not on the finance model. You cannot put Indian cricket at risk.”
Click here to read the full interview with Vinod Rai
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.