Srinivasan could breach ICC code
If, as reported, the BCCI is to allow N Srinivasan to be the Indian representative at ICC meetings, starting with the annual conference in London in the last week of June, it raises questions about his suitability according to the ICC's Code of Ethics for its directors, as well as highlighting certain grey areas.
Under clause 7 of the code, which deals with 'Betting, Gaming and Gambling', sub-section 7.2, sub-para (d) reads: "It is not permitted and a Director shall be in breach of this Code if a member of his immediate family (being a spouse, parent, sibling, son or daughter) has a controlling interest in a betting business, a substantial relationship with a betting business or is employed in the day to day operational control of a betting business."
Is Srinivasan, who is one of the ICC directors, in the breach of the above code after the arrest of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan in relation to betting allegations?
According to Srinivasan, he was unaware of the code. "If you're looking at ICC's rules, I mean I first have to see it myself, you're reading something, number one," Srinivasan said at the press conference after the IPL final in Kolkata. "I don't have it with me, number two. I have not done anything wrong but we will see. If you've brought it to my attention, we will examine it."
The ICC declined to comment on the issue but a closer examination only exposes uncertainty. Firstly, there is no mention of the word "son-in-law" under various relations listed with reference to immediate family. Then the fact that Meiyappan was not associated with any betting company. This may mean there has been was no direct violation of the code by Srinivasan.
But does being the husband of Srinivasan's daughter not make Meiyappan also immediate family? Meiyappan may not be part of a betting company but if allegations that he was actually betting on cricket during the IPL are proven, is that not illegal under the code?
Assistance on interpretation may be found elsewhere in the document. Clause 4 of the code, on 'Conflicts of Interest', lists the circumstances when a conflict can occur and makes it clear that "this list is not exhaustive, merely illustrative". For the issue to be brought to the table, according to the ICC rules, one of the directors on the ICC board needs to raise it.
Another question that needs clarification pertains to the decision by the BCCI to absolve Srinivasan of the daily duties of the board until the internal probe into Meiyappan is concluded. But if he is not supposed to do day-to-day jobs, why should Srinivasan attend ICC meetings? Isn't that part of the BCCI's daily duties?
That question has no clear answer as Jagmohan Dalmiya, who was appointed as the interim head of the BCCI at Sunday's emergency BCCI meeting in Chennai, said the decision of who would represent India at ICC meetings was still to be made, contradicting the Mumbai Cricket Association's interim president, Ravi Sawant, who told ESPNcricinfo that Srinivasan was the frontrunner.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo