BCCI clout would disappear if Lodha reforms are put in place - Manohar
Former BCCI president Shashank Manohar has said the board is happy to implement 75% of the recommendations made by the Lodha committee. There are five recommendations Manohar is against and he elaborated on them at a media briefing in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon.
"I respect Justice Lodha very much because he was one of the finest judges this country has produced. He is a very honest, upright person," he said. "The report, which he has given regarding the functioning of the board, 75% of the recommendations are very good and out of that most of them are already implemented. However, I have my own reservations with regard to few recommendations, which according to me are not in the interests of this board."
Advertisements between overs
Lodha committee: All existing contracts for Tests & ODI matches be revised and new ones ensure that only breaks taken by both teams for drinks, lunch and tea will permit the broadcast to be interrupted with advertisement."
Manohar: That would destroy the financial structure of this board. The recommendation says there should not be any advertisements except during lunch and tea breaks. But the board does not sell time. The board sells the live feed. And during the lunch and tea breaks, they go back to studios and there are no advertisements.
The BCCI has appointed an agency to monitor the telecast [and ensure] all the six balls are shown. There is a penalty clause in the contract itself which says termination of the contract can be inflicted in case all six balls are not shown.
The board generates its revenue through advertisements. Today, the broadcaster pays about INR 43 crores per game - ODI or a T20I or a Test match. The board revenue would come down drastically, to about 15% of what it is getting now. The broadcaster would then fetch money only from the home connections. There is an expenditure for the broadcaster for uplinking, downlinking and distributing the signals.
When the Justice Lodha committee came out, Star India, the official broadcaster for BCCI, had written a letter to me saying that they would like to renegotiate the contract because they said it is impossible to pay INR 43 crore if advertisements can't be shown. If the financial structure collapses, according to me, the board would be relegated to the '80s when there was no money. The board has started a lot of schemes for the benefit and welfare of the players, all those schemes would have to be shut down.
If the board's income today is INR 2000 crore, it will come down to INR 400 crore. Out of that, if we have to pay 30% tax, we are left with INR 300 crore. For organising matches and tours, the expenditure incurred by the board is about INR 90 to 100 crore. We distribute to the players about INR 125 crore. Even to maintain the infrastructure at the association level, it requires a minimum of INR 2 to 3 crore per year. Then there are matches which are played at Under-15, Under-17, Under-19, Under-23 [levels]. About 900-1000 games are played in every state association. It requires expenditure. If the board's income comes down to INR 400 crore all these things would not be possible.
Today the board has a clout internationally. That clout would disappear. So it would not be wise to stop the advertisements during games.
One State - One Member - One Vote
Lodha committee: It is not proper for only one or two states to have multiple members when all other states have single memberships (in fact, while many states have no representation).
Manohar: It is also not a correct recommendation. It is easy to say the North-Eastern states also exist and therefore they should be Full Members of the board. Even in our political system, when the Members of Parliament are elected, the number is not the same from all states. If you have to give equal representation to everybody, then you should have the same number of MPs from every state.
The Supreme Court has judges from various states but if you check the records, judges from Mumbai, Kolkata are more in number, and there might not be any judge from the North-Eastern states. So when you talk about effective representation, it has to apply to everything.
There is another aspect [to the issue]. There are many members like Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Baroda, Saurashtra, Railways, Services, Universities, National Cricket Club and Cricket Club of India, which have been told to be removed from BCCI by the Lodha committee. Many of these are founding members. The board was founded in 1932. The States Re-organisation Act came into force in 1956. So these members were the regions which came together and formed this board.
Take the case of Maharashtra. When the board was formed, the Bombay presidency extended from Karnataka upto Gujarat. Maharashtra was rest of Maharashtra, while Vidarbha was Central Provinces & Berar. So the initial membership was CP & Berar, Maharashtra and Bombay Presidency. They have been in existence for 85 years. They have stadia at all three venues - Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. Huge investments have been made; Ranji Trophy teams represent these places.
Now, the Lodha committee has said the other two associations are allowed to [have teams that] play [in the Ranji Trophy]. I fail to understand how because the constitution prepared by the committee says out of these three associations, they have to choose one as a Full Member. Suppose Mumbai is chosen as a Full Member, that automatically means Maharashtra and Vidarbha will become Associate members. The report says that we [Vidarbha, where Manohar has been president] are allowed to play Ranji Trophy. However, in the constitution it is stated that the Full Member's territory would be the entire state boundary. So the entire state of Maharashtra would be under the jurisdiction of Mumbai. So from where are we supposed to get our players? Are they going to fall from heaven?
I have no area of operations. I can't even conduct a domestic game as I would have to seek permission of my Full Member. So there cannot be a team of Vidarbha and Maharashtra, likewise Saurashtra and Baroda if full membership is given to Gujarat.
There are three associations in Maharashtra. Mumbai is the cricketing hub which has won Ranji Tropy 41 times. Maharashtra has the maximum districts. Vidarbha has the maximum infrastructure because we have two stadiums and an indoor academy. So on what basis do we decide who should be given Full Member status?
Two members from IPL franchises on IPL governing council
Manohar: This entire matter went to the Supreme Court over an issue of conflict of interest because Mr [N] Srinivasan, who is the owner of Chennai Super Kings, was sitting on the IPL governing council. Now this [recommendation] creates a clear conflict because there will be decisions taken relating to the franchises by the IPL governing council. I should not judge on a matter when I have an interest in it. That is the basic rule of law.
Before the Lodha recommendations were submitted to the Supreme Court, I had made a suggestion that we should have three independent persons of repute in the IPL governing council, who have expertise in finance and administration. I had even shortlisted three people and obtained their consent. However, at the meeting it was felt we were not sure what the Lodha Committee would do, and therefore that was kept in abeyance. It was neither accepted nor rejected.
How can you have an IPL franchise [official] sitting on the governing council? They [the Lodha committee] said, by rotation, two franchises should sit on the council every year. So are the franchises which have been debarred for misconduct going to sit on the IPL governing council? It is a clear case of conflict which cannot be implemented by the board.
Lodha committee: There shall be an apex council for the BCCI which shall be primarily responsible for the governance of the affairs of the board.
Manohar: I have no difficulty with regards to a shorter committee. It can be called working committee, managing committee or you may call it as an apex council. But the issue is nowhere in the world do players sit on the board of directors.
It is wrong to tell the board to find an association created by players. If you take the Federation of International Cricketers Association, it was formed by the players themselves. They share their revenue, they shared their prize money to FICA, they pay their subscriptions to FICA and that is how it runs. FICA do not hold a management position in a cricket board. They are consultants. In our constitution also we have various committees since the last so many years which are headed by cricketers. We don't interfere with cricketing matters.
Another issue is with regards to the number of people on the national selection committee. We have a five-man selection committee. Lodha committee says three. This is an operational matter. Tomorrow a scenario can arise where all three selectors come from the same place. Also, there are so many matches simultaneously held all over the country. It is physically impossible for the [three] selectors to travel to all these places and watch the games.
Tenure of office bearers
Lodha committee: The terms of these office bearers (president, secretary, one vice-president instead of the current five, treasurer and joint-secretary) continue to be three years, but with a maximum of three such terms regardless of the post held, with a cooling-off period after each such term.
Manohar: I have no difficulty with the nine-year tenure, but the issue is with the cooling-off period. There will be no continuity in the system. You will have five different people each time. Suppose there is a person who is doing very well and the board wants him to continue, he can't because there is a prohibition. So for a nine-year term the candidate has to come for 15 years because of the cooling-off period.
It is also wrong to suggest you cannot hold a post in your state association if you are an office bearer in the board. It is like saying if you become a minister you will have to resign as MP because otherwise you would play favourites. There is no favouritism, there is no conflict. You are here in this board because of your position in your state association. You are not chosen in the board independently.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo