India news August 28, 2013

BCCI's 'operation clean-up' yet to take off

Three months after announcing a plethora of measures to clean up the game, the BCCI's ambitious plan is yet to take off and is unlikely to make any progress till the board's AGM at the end of September. While the BCCI has not offered any explanation for the delay in implementation of the plan announced in the wake of the IPL corruption scandal, it is understood to be a victim of the current leadership crisis in the board.

The decisions were announced in two phases. On May 19, four days after three Rajasthan Royals players were arrested on charges of spot-fixing in the IPL, BCCI president N Srinivasan announced the board's decision to get players' agents accredited. That was followed, on June 10, by Jagmohan Dalmiya, the board's acting president, unveiling what he called 'operation clean-up', which aimed to curb corruption and remove "sleaze" in the IPL by enforcing a "strict code of conduct". It included a requirement for players to reveal sources of their earnings, and for IPL team owners to furnish details of payments and their contractual obligations with players and support staff.

So far, though, those decisions and proposals have remained on paper. The BCCI, which trumpeted those announcements under the spotlight, has been quiet about them ever since and is still short on specifics. "We are still in the process to act upon the decisions. Hopefully, it will be done soon," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told ESPNcricinfo earlier this week.

Dalmiya said the issues were being discussed. "All the procedures about implementation of operation clean-up and player agents accreditation are being discussed. We will let you know once there is an update," he said.

Neither gave reasons for the delay, and it is understood that nothing will be done before the September AGM. This is mainly because there is no clear leadership in the board. Though Dalmiya is handling the board's day-to-day affairs, many senior officials feel the board lacks a leader who has the clout to actually implement such a high-profile operation. There is also a feeling within the board that there is no urgency required since most of these proposed changes are related to the IPL.

Meanwhile, those affected by the proposals are yet to hear from the board, directly or indirectly. They feel the sooner it is done the better it will be in terms of bringing in transparency into their business.

The board never spelt out its modus operandi but it believed that the centrally contracted players will be asked to give details of their representatives, who will then be asked to submit their relevant documents. The move, when first announced, had evoked a mixed response from player agents, a group that, barring an exception or two, has few friends among cricket administrators. One of the leading player agents hoped that the BCCI's announcement on May 19 "wasn't a farce" and they would formalise the procedure "before the cricket season begins at home".

The need for bringing player agents on board was underlined during the spot-fixing scandal that saw many of players' agent-cum-friends hanging around in the team hotel. Jiju Janardhanan, an alleged bookie who was a friend of Sreesanth, may have posed as the fast bowler's agent.

The decision to ask players to reveal their financial interests had been announced following revelations of India and Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni's involvement with Rhiti Sports Management, a company that also manages some of the other prominent Indian cricketers.

Since the BCCI does not recognise any player agent as of now, all the demands will be made directly to the players. A BCCI contracted player confirmed that he had not received any notification seeking either his manager's details or those about his financial transactions. The player added the delay will "unnecessarily keep a sword hanging over players' financial status and genuine player agents".

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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