The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has recently been riddled with corruption. In an effort to change this, the Supreme Court appointed the Lodha Panel to investigate the organisation and come up with ways that would help the BCCI redeem itself. On 4th January 2016, the panel, headed by former Chief Justice R. M. Lodha, submitted its report to the Supreme Court. Speculations are rife about the BCCI’s next move; if it decides to implement these recommendations. It will not only clean itself up but also restore the tag of ‘gentleman’s game’ to Indian cricket.
Here are 4 ways, suggested by the Lodha panel, in which the BCCI could redeem itself:
1. Regulate the office bearers and cleanse the board from within
Since most of the BCCI’s problems come from inside the organisation, that’s the first place the BCCI should clean up. One way of doing that could be to limit the tenure of its office bearers. All office bearers should only be able to hold their positions for a maximum of 3 terms of 3 years each.
There could also be an age limit of 70 years for the office bearers. This means BCCI veterans like Sharad Pawar and Niranjan Shah would have stepped down from their posts. Even the President’s time in office could be reduced to 2 terms of 3 years each. He/She would not be allowed to hold any other post during that period, no longer have an extra vote in meetings nor an opinion in team selection.
2. Give more power to the players
Since the BCCI is an organisation that governs a sport, and by extension its players, the players should have more of a say. In a bid to protect the players’ interests, a player’s association could be formed and a committee of G K Pillai, Mohinder Amarnath, Diana Eduljee and Anil Kumble could be appointed to aid the BCCI form this association.
Further, an Apex Council could replace the board’s Working Committee. This would make the decision-making more player friendly. Moreover, selection committees could consist of 3 members instead of 5, all being former test players. Conclusively, in order to ensure justice to players in the domestic circuit, former cricketers could run state associations.
3. Cut ties with external agencies
The BCCI has often been dragged into controversies due to its associations with external organisations. To keep the board away from the troubles it has been through in the past, the BCCI could cut ties with some of its associates. The 2013 IPL Spot Fixing Scandal greatly tarnished the BCCI. To avoid that in the future, the BCCI and IPL could have separate governing bodies.
Ministers and bureaucrats could be disallowed for being board members as well as holding positions in state associations. This would remove the nexus between politics and cricket. It will make the organisation more sport-focused and reduce the number of conflict of interest cases that are frequent in the BCCI management structure.
4. Become an open book and taking steps to undo the past mistakes
To avoid future controversies, the BCCI should be made more accountable for their actions. A way to ensure that scandals such the IPL spot-fixing are not repeated, betting could be legalised in the country.
The BCCI could also be included under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, adding an extra layer of transparency. The board could publish the details of all its meetings and have its transactions audited by an independent auditor. Moreover, an independent ethics officer could be appointed to resolve the board’s disputes, while an ombudsman (person incharge of representing public’s interest) could cater to cases of ‘conflict of interest’. A proper stadium rotation policy could be followed to ensure the uniformity of matches played throughout the country.
Most people agree that change in the BCCI is inevitable at this point. The disagreements are mainly on which of these points the organisation will or is likely to implement. While the board may oppose a few recommendations like the controversial ‘One State, One Vote’ policy, it may have to incorporate many of the others to appease the Supreme Court and ensure its continued existence.