Ease BCCI’s ‘straight-jacket’ conflict rules, CoA urges Supreme Court
The Indian cricket Board’s Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators have recommended the easing of stringent conflict of interest rules. A vital aspect of the reform process in the cash-rich sports body, some of the conflict rules mainly involving former players however have raised complaints they are proving more of a stumbling block.
The CoA, which will demit office once elected BCCI members take charge on October 23, in its 11th and final status report to the Apex court has also recommended that a current player not on an annual contract with the Board be allowed to do commentary for any broadcaster, own a cricket academy, or become a team official in a league franchisee.
The CoA chief Vinod Rai himself disagreed with BCCI’s ethics officer when he summoned Rahul Dravid for a hearing after a complaint of conflict against the former India skipper that his taking over as director of the Bengaluru-based National Cricket Academy flouted conflict clauses as he had yet to fully cut ties as an employee of India Cements.
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There was lot of confusion and controversy when ethics officer, Justice (retd.) DK Jain, also summoned other top players over their holding multiple posts. Rule 38 (4) of the new BCCI constitution says an individual holding any of a select 16 posts cannot hold another in the list simultaneously.
These posts include that of a current player, selector/member of cricket committee, team official, academy owner, commentator, among others.
Incoming BCCI president Sourav Ganguly too has called the stringent conflict clause as a major issue after he too was the receiving end for being the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president while being a team official with IPL team, Delhi Capitals.
His former teammates Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman too have come under fire. Former great Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and ex-India women’s team skipper Shantha Rangaswamy, who as Cricket Advisory Committee members, selected the India team coach in July, also faced questions over conflict of interest.
The rules didn’t just affect the top players. A lot of current and former players who ran private academies or did TV commentary for a living were deemed to fall afoul of the conflict rules when they applied for roles in state units as coach, selector, etc.
“The Committee of Administrators, during its tenure, has come across various instances where the rules pertaining to conflict of interest have been applied to positions and scenarios which in its view did not warrant such application... a few of the concerns stemming from such straight- jacketed application (sic) include inter alia absolute prohibition on former players from occupying multiple posts, prohibition on holding of even two unrelated or remotely-related posts, undue restrictions on the current players (not on an annual contract with BCCI) from being gainfully employed even outside the BCCI during off-season,” the status report stated.
“The Committee of Administrators is accordingly of the view that the proscriptions contained in Rule 38 (4) of the BCCI constitution are capable of being interpreted in a manner that is a very straight jacketed manner (sic), which is proving to be counter-productive and disproportionately restrictive to players, both current as well as former.”
It added: “The Committee of Administrators, accordingly recommends amendment to Rule 38 of the BCCI constitution vide insertion of certain clauses and sub-clauses.”
The CoA explained that a former player who is not engaged by BCCI or a state unit full time must be allowed to become an advisory committee member, team official, match official, commentator and member of any committee except the nine-member apex council or the IPL governing council.