Why not nationalise cricket administration

Like Bollywood, cricket has an ugly underbelly. It is administered by a an ultra-cash-rich organization that is essentially private.

ashishm

Ashish Mehta | January 7, 2019 | Delhi


#Indian cricket team   #RTI Act   #BCCI   #cricket   #IPL   #CAG  
Illustration: Ashish Asthana
Illustration: Ashish Asthana

Other than climate and of course politics, cricket is the most popular topic of conversation among strangers. Bollywood too does not cover as much geography as the game inherited from the colonial masters does. Like Bollywood, cricket has an ugly underbelly. It is administered by a an ultra-cash-rich organization that is essentially private. The Board for Control of Cricket in India, a nonagenarian club controlled by moneybags and politicians with no cricketing experience, “control” the game.

When the Indian squad plays against Pakistan, it is a matter of high passions – it’s called “war without shooting” – and in 2011 even the prime ministers of the two neighbours sat down to watch the proceedings, but at the end of the day it’s a private team, not an Indian national team.
 

Think

BCCI is a private club that claims to represent the nation and makes astronomical income
. . .
The board can take any decisions it may deem proper: it is not answerable to people or people’s representatives
. . .
The board cannot be audited by CAG; it is not under the RTI Act

The BCCI, for whom the team plays and who gets the moolah at the end of the game, is a private club registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act. It was formed in 1928 to meet the requirement of the International Cricket Council, so that an Indian team can play against teams from other nations. For all other sports, there are federations (again, monopolised by aging politicians) which are governed by the sports ministry. Cricket is a case apart.
 
That was the case even during the good old days, and it is more so after the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Astronomical sums earned through sale of TV rights and other commercial aspects have made the BCCI extraordinarily rich. Since this is a cricket-crazy nation, other playing nations’ cricket admin bodies (or other sports bodies within India) are far poorer. 
 
The BCCI has finally no responsibility. Be it the selection of players, or coach (why Ravi Shastri in place of Anil Kumble), or the head of selection panel (why they have usually far less experience than most current players), or even the empanelled commentators (why Harsha Bhogle is no longer among them), its decisions are beyond questioning. It answers to none; fans can fume but to no avail. 
 
The Lodha committee has revamped its internal administration, but it is still BCCI, a private club. Though it claims to represent the nation – though legally speaking it cannot, but when it comes to responsibility of a public institution, it claims to be a private body. There have been repeated demands of opening up its finances to a CAG scrutiny, and bringing it under the gamut of the RTI Act, to make it answer people’s questions. It has refused. In 2018, following an application by a Delhi-based petitioned named Geeta Rani, CIC has asked the BCCI why it should not be declared a ‘public authority’ under the RTI Act. The same petitioner has also approached the Madras high court in end-December seeking to restrain BCCI from representing the nation.
 
The government of India has a sound legal position to take over the administration of a sport that millions of people take most seriously.
 
Reality check
Like the rise of IT industry in India, it must be the absence of government and the whole bureaucracy that has helped developed the game of cricket. At the BCCI a lot needs to be fixed, and it has to be made answerable, but bringing the game administration under the government would be a solution worse than the problem.  
 
(This article appears in January 15, 2019 edition)

 

Comments

 

Other News

SAIL launches smart trash bins to develop smart garbage stations

SAIL has rolled out stainless steel smart garbage bins, which will display signals to the collection vehicle about the ‘fill-up’ position.   A smart garbage station will be set up at Bhikaji Cama Place, which is being developed by SDMC (South Delhi Municipal Corporati

Civil enclave at Hindon airport unveiled by PM Modi

Prime minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated a civil enclave at Hindon airport in Ghaziabad. The development of new civil enclave at Hindon airport is aimed at reducing the burden of Delhi’s IGI Airport and will also serve the passengers from Delhi NCR and Uttar Pradesh. Hindon

Rethinking healthcare

The new world is aggressively batting for individual rights and self-determination. As the society is evolving for the better, we see a more assertive Indian coming to the fore. An Indian who has higher expectations and an Indian who is cognizant of his/her rights. Our constitution guarantees us several fr

Why not have a reconciliation panel?

Jenine di Giovanni, a reporter who was a first-hand witness to the destruction in Bosnia, Chechnya and other places, wrote: “In the aftermath of any war or genocide, healing and reconciliation are ultimate aspirations.” After some years of the end of the apartheid era in South Africa, the Truth

An engineering disaster

After passing the 12th board exams in 2014, Vikas Kumar, of Madhepura in Bihar, took a year’s break to prepare for the engineering entrance exam. The hard work paid off and he managed to score high enough to qualify for admission to one of the prestigious National Institutes of Technology (NITs), whe

Why AAP-Congress alliance could be a threat for BJP

The Congress party has unanimously supported Sheila Dikhshit`s decision to reject an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi. With the Congress shutting the prospect of alliance, the national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has slammed the party saying that when the whole nation



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter