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"BCCI has digressed from its objective"

Board insiders cashing in on their position for commercial benefits is unacceptable, says former BCCI President AC Muthiah.

By AC Muthiah

As a former president of BCCI, I am saddened to note the recent developments. BCCI was formed in the year 1940 as a non-profit organization under the Societies Registration Act and the Members of the Board were eminent personalities, who were keen to develop cricket as a sport in India and so also several of the state associations have been formed under the Societies Registration Act with similar objectives.

BCCI has never missed the track and also were keen to develop cricket as a sport. The proposal of BCCI to form IPL no doubt is basically a proposal of combination of business and sport. It required careful handling by BCCI, so that the benefits of such a proposal could be fully enjoyed by the BCCI.

Unfortunately, however, I noticed that insiders have taken part in the IPL bids and I apprehended if it is allowed it would definitely spoil the spirit under which the BCCI is functioning in the development of cricket. I, therefore, represented the matter to BCCI and the Board has simply ignored the representation and to the contrary amended the bye-laws to give more room for insiders to meddle with.

I subsequently came to know through media that some of the office-bearers of the BCCI are connected with many of the IPL franchisees directly or indirectly. However, the BCCI did not take a serious note of it despite bringing it to its notice through courts. Today, 'The Hindu' newspaper in its editorial highlighted that "Allegations have been made that the process of bidding for franchises suffered from something like insider trading. There are also conflicts of interest among those serving on the IPL's Governing Council."

Parliamentarians have also raised their voice saying that the BCCI is taken over by the government and the IPL has to be banned. I feel to a larger extent the members of the BCCI have failed in their responsibilities and they had consciously allowed themselves to be exploited by certain groups by amending the byelaws. As far as I am concerned I have taken the matter to the court. Although before the High Court, Chennai I am not successful, I hope I may be successful by moving the issue before the Supreme Court.

The BCCI should ensure all those who have some stake or interest either directly or indirectly should be kept away from the board, so that it shall be able to independently perform and develop cricket as a sport which has been nourished so well over a period of 60/65 years free from any commercial interest by any of its members. Just expelling one or two members will not be a solution to the present episode.

The BCCI should also ensure that even the state associations should pass appropriate resolutions to amend their bye laws that no office-bearers shall have any commercial interests either directly or indirectly in IPL franchisees or in any other commercial ventures of the board or of its own events.

(AC Muthiah was the president of the BCCI from 1998 to 2001. He is a leading industrialist.)
 
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