The Lodha Committee report: Will cricket be a different ball game now?
- January 11, 2016
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Uncategorized
There were days of green fields, polished willow hitting the crimson ball and a swarm of emotions. Now, however, its more about what the sport looks like on the balance sheet, about TV rights and scandals. When will the most popular sport in India truly be a ‘sport’ again?
If the recommendations of the Justice RM Lodha-led Committee are followed, it could happen soon. While the clamour for better governance of cricket and debate over the opacity of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had started long ago, the issue received a fillip when the spot-fixing scandal broke out in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013. Allegations flew fast against the corruption prevalent in the cash-rich league, the reckless workings of the BCCI and ultimately, the quagmire that the gentleman’s game had been thrust into.
In January, 2015, the Committee, comprising of Justice RM Lodha, Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice RV Raveendran, was formed by the Supreme Court after the Mudgal Committee submitted its report into the spot-fixing scandal. The Justice Lodha-led Committee came out with its report this week, highlighting the need for a major overhaul of cricket administration as it were so that cricket does not lose its essence and the faith of the masses in the sport is restored. There were several recommendations made therein but some of the key ones are mentioned below.
The Committee has recommended changes not just in the qualifications- age, tenure etc.- for BCCI officials but has, in fact, suggested that the governance of purely ‘cricketing’ activities and other administrative affairs be separated. The problem of conflict of interest in the BCCI came up repeatedly, with many officials holding multiple posts. The report suggests that one individual can hold only one post and an Ethics Officer can be appointed to handle disputes in this area.
The Committee also suggests greater involvement of players in administration and the sport in general and seeks to cut the role of red tape and politics in the arena.Another suggestion is that a Players’ Association be formed. It is heartening to see that the Committee has paid heed to the need for gender equality as well by stating that both men and women cricketers should be part of the proposed Players’ Association.
The Committee has also addressed very important concerns surrounding cricket and particularly, the IPL at the moment, namely, accountability, corruption, match-fixingand betting. It suggests that the IPL Governing Council should enjoy only limited autonomy and it should include 2 representatives from the franchisees on an annual rotational basis, nominees of the Players’ Association and the Comptroller & Auditor General’s office as well. The report also highlights that match-fixing should be made a criminal offence. But realizing the growing reach of betting and its potential to breed crime if left unregulated in dark alleys, the Committee has suggested taking a realistic point of view and legalizing betting, at the same time, stating that it should not be used to influence the outcome of a match in any way.
Finally, the report caters to involving the masses in the most popular sport in the country. It has reflected on the need for transparency in the BCCI, asking it to put all its rules and regulations in public domain, and advising that it be put in the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The BCCI, along with its State units, are currently scrutinizing the report and only time will tell whether or not cricket will be a different ball game now…