India news October 18, 2015

BCCI proposals come down hard on conflict of interest

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BCCI president Shashank Manohar has recommended stringent measures to rid Indian cricket of the problem of conflict of interest in a three-page document circulated among members ahead of the working committee meeting on Sunday. The response to the letter was cautious, but during the three and a half hour meeting Manohar is understood to have stressed on the necessity to prevent administrators and active or retired cricketers exploiting a position of power.

The board members sought more time to study the proposals and revert to Manohar during next month's AGM. Some members voiced concerns over the BCCI "going to extreme steps" with regard to the issue, but Manohar is understood to have remained firm.

In addition to administrators, current and retired cricketers are brought under Manohar's proposed rules to guard against conflict of interest. In six rules laid down for retired cricketers, Manohar proposed "a cricketer on the payroll of the BCCI or holding contracts with BCCI shall not be on any BCCI committees including IPL GC." This could affect someone like Ravi Shastri, who is the India team director and a member of IPL governing council.

The proposed rules state that coaches and national selectors will "not be associated with a player management company or a player agent, either honorary or paid," and "cricketers on the managing committee of an affiliated unit of BCCI shall not be considered for appointment as a national selector." It also stated that cricketers appointed as national coaches or selectors cannot run "private academies during their tenure".

As examples of what effect these proposals could have, national selector Saba Karim has been associated with a player management agency for well over a decade, and if the recommendations are passed Dilip Vengsarkar, who has been in the reckoning to return as chief selector, will not be able to do so unless he relinquishes his post as the Mumbai Cricket Association vice-president.

MS Dhoni's controversial involvement in Rhiti Sports, the management agency that looks after his commercial interests and that of some other Indian players, led Manohar to suggest that current cricketers "shall not have any business interest in a player management company." Current cricketers could also be barred from entering into contractual agreements with a competitor of Nike, the BCCI's apparel sponsor. They could also not be allowed to hold "any controlling position in any commercial organisation having a contract with the BCCI or its state unit."

The board has also proposed nine conditions for administrators to avoid conflict of interest with the BCCI or within their respective state associations. Administrators and their near relatives could be barred from having any commercial interest in any activities or tournaments including the IPL. It is proposed that an administrator must not draw any "financial benefits from the BCCI except as per the TA (travel allowance) and DA (daily allowance) rules for BCCI meetings" and retirement benefits.

An administrator or his near relatives are also proposed to not enter into or be associated with a company that enters into a commercial agreement with his state association. Over the years, most of the in-stadia rights have been allotted to companies run by relatives of respective association chiefs. Some of the player managers have also been absorbed as office-bearers by some of the state associations, thus raising suspicions of conflict of interest.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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