India news June 10, 2013

BCCI initiates 'operation clean-up'

ESPNcricinfo staff
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The BCCI has announced its first set of proposals to "clean up" the IPL, measures ranging from financial disclosures by players and team owners to curbing the tournament's controversial "entertainment" quotient, including putting a stop to cheerleaders and after-match parties.

The measures are part of "operation clean-up," announced by acting BCCI head Jagmohan Dalmiya at the end of a working committee meeting in Delhi on Monday. It aims to curb corruption and remove "sleaze" in the IPL by enforcing a "strict code of conduct" for players, support staff and owners, after the 2013 season was hit by charges of spot-fixing against players and by allegations that team owners were involved in illegal betting.

Players will be required to reveal sources of their earnings, and owners will have to furnish details of payments and their contractual obligations with players and support staff.

Access to the players' dug-out and dressing room has been tightened once again, with Dalmiya saying that team owners will be restricted from these areas during matches. Owners were allowed in the dug-out and dressing room during the first season in 2008, but following complaints had been prevented from entering those areas thereafter. They now have seating arrangements close to the dug-out. Top officials of two teams, Gurunath Meiyappan of the Chennai Super Kings and Raj Kundra of Rajasthan Royals, have confessed to taking part in illegal betting, according to the Mumbai and Delhi police.

Dalmiya also said that "no selector will be allowed to get associated with any franchise in any capacity." No member of India's current selection panel is attached to any franchise, but former selection chairman Kris Srikkanth was brand ambassador for the Super Kings for a period at the start of the IPL.

Players and support staff will need to provide their telephone numbers to the BCCI before the IPL, and there will be a larger number of officials from the BCCI's Anti Corruption and Security Unit at grounds and hotels during the tournament. It was also said that cell phone towers at the ground could be jammed during matches.

No decision was taken on the strategic time-out, which accounts for five minutes of every IPL match and came into being in 2010. The two intervals of two and a half minutes each in every innings allow teams to strategise with support staff, and commercially it creates 300 seconds of advertising space. However, according to police investigations that led to more than 25 betting-related arrests in Delhi and Mumbai, the time-out was also an ideal period for the syndicates to adjust their session and spot odds. When Dalmiya was asked about this, he said: "We have not thought about it, it was just a financial exercise."

On Tuesday, BCCI's secretary Sanjay Patel was quoted in the Indian Express saying that cleaning up the IPL was an "ongoing process" and doing away with the strategic time-outs had "financial implications." He did not rule out any future change, however, saying that the strategic time-out could form a part of "additional measures in our programme. We will discuss all other issues, including strategic time-out in our future meetings."

Operation clean-up is a work in progress, Dalmiya said, and IPL captains will be called for a meeting and franchises will also be consulted before a blueprint could be finalised at another working committee meeting.

By Sharda Ugra

The BCCI's 12-point "Operation Clean-Up" should, in a twisted way, look like a giant leap for Indian cricket. It is the first formal, even if disguised, admission of errors, misdemeanours and lapses in governance that Indian cricket has made since it became the game's financial behemoth.

It was official acknowledgement that the dirt whirling around the IPL could not possibly be brushed under a carpet of delusion. It involved three players, two IPL team owners, the police of two cities, an umpire who was yanked out of the Champions Trophy by the ICC, two dozen illegal bookies and time in prison.

Operation Clean-Up addresses IPL's corruption issues at two levels. Putting an end to cheer leaders and after-match parties and planning to jam cellphones during matches is at worst a cosmetic change, at best tangential. Cheerleaders are not responsible for cricketers being lured by bookies or owners falling prey to gambling. After-match parties have been off limits in the post-Modi IPL world anyway. Jamming cellphones during matches serve no purpose if deals have already been done.

The more serious aspect of the BCCI's plans involve asking cricketers to spell out their financial investments and partnerships, and for IPL owners to come clean with the details of their payment structures with players and support staff. While it may not uncover 'black' or 'grey' money dealings but it is the most you can do. It must be hoped that these will be early steps towards financial transparency in the BCCI, signaling a departure from the IPL's very smelly 'secret tie-break' culture.

Whatever may have been included in the 12-point list, what stayed off it were the unmentionables. Whether BCCI officials would be willing to have their own financial backgrounds so thoroughly examined. To reveal the channels through which they make profits through cricket. Whether the BCCI would consider re-amending their constitution, rolling back the clause that gave N Srinivasan the latitude to buy an IPL franchise. Whether officials fighting misappropriation of funds cases against them could possibly continue in office.

Operation Clean Up is a very small first step. It is the follow through that will tell us whether the BCCI has responded to perhaps the worst crisis in its history with a thorough overhaul of its governance structures, or mere window dressing.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | June 10, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    Ah, there looks to be some real intent here. That's thoroughly good & now we wait to see how the ethos of the BCCI of recent years (arrogance, secretiveness & consequent opaqueness) is going to change into transparency, accountability & general sound governance for the good of the game, not just the profit of a variety of individuals. The task of cleaning up is huge because the mess is, well, very messy indeed. Speaking as a non-Indian, but passionately concerned about our game, I do hope that the new BCCI will enter into a spirit of rapprochment with other boards with which there have been some deep & wounding disagreements in the recent past. The cricket world is far better united in its mission to make cricket the best it can be, as widely as it can be & to involve many more of the youth of the world in its delights & fascination. When I say 'youth' I make an emphatic point that it must include girls in schools & elsewhere. It's far too good a game to keep it confined to men alone!

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | June 11, 2013, 20:37 GMT

    Sharda, if you'll allow me to say so, your supplement is spoken like a true fan of cricket & your comments, here & elsewhere on these murky political matters, (where cricket as a great game that at its best can bind disparate nations & cultures together in common cause seems to have been forgotten) are very much appreciated. You have been a leading light in this fetid darkness for people like me trying to understand, trying to be constructive even when being critical.(And so many of my comments to cricinfo on this matter have been knocked back. Why, I know not). I note too that you have never been contracted to the BCCI, unlike some others hereabouts. Bravo! Being contracted to the BCCI & being a true & fearless journalist seems to me to be a contradiction in terms. I look forward to your updates as thing begin to unravel & wish you the very best. Much respect from a cricket fan in England who supports England, but supports cricket more!

  • POSTED BY muzika_tchaikovskogo on | June 11, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    One certainly hopes that the 'clean up' proves to be something beyond mere lip service. Greater commitment to the future of the game ought to be top on the list of priorities. Its about time the BCCI assumed true leadership of the game. The behaviour of the board in recent years has been an embarrasment for us, Indian fans.

  • POSTED BY SanjivAwesome on | June 11, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Cheerleading connected to sleaze? Strange linking by BCCI. Concentrate on the real sleaze, please.

  • POSTED BY Cluedin on | June 11, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Mr. Dalmiya, it appears that you have missed out on the potential conflict of interest if any of the BCCI or state cricket board members have an interest in any of the IPL teams.

  • POSTED BY pull_shot on | June 11, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Get rid of cheer girls is great news which not our culture and jamming phone signals is unnecessary also please dont give vip treatment to team owners

  • POSTED BY satishchandar on | June 11, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    Good initiative by BCCI though i do see this as a damage control process.. Some of the things should have never happened like allowing people till the dug out, Selector involved with in franchise posts, more ACSU should have been there already.. I am not sure how the signal jaming is going to help the fans.. Already there are not good food, water available for the fans and with no signal for mobiles, it will make things a bit tougher for them.. May be, they can set a couple of ACSU officers in the dugout so that he can monitor the players closely rather than signal jamming and all.. Strategic time out - yes betting happens during that time but how is it related to fixing? If betting happens, it is duty of police to stop it.. It can continue if it really serves purpose..

    Best of the lot is, to speak with the IPL captains in private.. They might still have concerns on how things are handled by all the parties and it can provide a great insider information on process improvement..

  • POSTED BY on | June 11, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    How did Cheerleading become Sleezy. I think they really need to wake up and see the world. Just take care of the real problem and not ruin the fun for rest of the Paying folks. I am skeptical of the end game. To me it will just one more saga that will continue for a long time and eventually there will loop holes that others will come up with and we will back to square one. What really happened to Modi case, What happened to so many other regional cricket association leaders who were sued for the crime of cooking the books. Some of them are part of BCCI even today.

    I just dont buy it.

  • POSTED BY on | June 11, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    Barring Cheerleaders is good but why to stop parties? Jamming phone signal during matches is ridiculous.

  • POSTED BY CJC1 on | June 10, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    To quote a man who has given his heart and soul for the fans, players and betterment of cricket "Cricket increasingly seems to be pushing aside the principles of transparency, accountability, independence and upholding the best interests of the global game, in favour of a system that appears to operate through threats, intimidation and backroom deals." And the BCCI and the ICC for that matter will do what it always does in the face of such blunt honesty...

    Nothing.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | June 10, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    Ah, there looks to be some real intent here. That's thoroughly good & now we wait to see how the ethos of the BCCI of recent years (arrogance, secretiveness & consequent opaqueness) is going to change into transparency, accountability & general sound governance for the good of the game, not just the profit of a variety of individuals. The task of cleaning up is huge because the mess is, well, very messy indeed. Speaking as a non-Indian, but passionately concerned about our game, I do hope that the new BCCI will enter into a spirit of rapprochment with other boards with which there have been some deep & wounding disagreements in the recent past. The cricket world is far better united in its mission to make cricket the best it can be, as widely as it can be & to involve many more of the youth of the world in its delights & fascination. When I say 'youth' I make an emphatic point that it must include girls in schools & elsewhere. It's far too good a game to keep it confined to men alone!

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | June 11, 2013, 20:37 GMT

    Sharda, if you'll allow me to say so, your supplement is spoken like a true fan of cricket & your comments, here & elsewhere on these murky political matters, (where cricket as a great game that at its best can bind disparate nations & cultures together in common cause seems to have been forgotten) are very much appreciated. You have been a leading light in this fetid darkness for people like me trying to understand, trying to be constructive even when being critical.(And so many of my comments to cricinfo on this matter have been knocked back. Why, I know not). I note too that you have never been contracted to the BCCI, unlike some others hereabouts. Bravo! Being contracted to the BCCI & being a true & fearless journalist seems to me to be a contradiction in terms. I look forward to your updates as thing begin to unravel & wish you the very best. Much respect from a cricket fan in England who supports England, but supports cricket more!

  • POSTED BY muzika_tchaikovskogo on | June 11, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    One certainly hopes that the 'clean up' proves to be something beyond mere lip service. Greater commitment to the future of the game ought to be top on the list of priorities. Its about time the BCCI assumed true leadership of the game. The behaviour of the board in recent years has been an embarrasment for us, Indian fans.

  • POSTED BY SanjivAwesome on | June 11, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Cheerleading connected to sleaze? Strange linking by BCCI. Concentrate on the real sleaze, please.

  • POSTED BY Cluedin on | June 11, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Mr. Dalmiya, it appears that you have missed out on the potential conflict of interest if any of the BCCI or state cricket board members have an interest in any of the IPL teams.

  • POSTED BY pull_shot on | June 11, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Get rid of cheer girls is great news which not our culture and jamming phone signals is unnecessary also please dont give vip treatment to team owners

  • POSTED BY satishchandar on | June 11, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    Good initiative by BCCI though i do see this as a damage control process.. Some of the things should have never happened like allowing people till the dug out, Selector involved with in franchise posts, more ACSU should have been there already.. I am not sure how the signal jaming is going to help the fans.. Already there are not good food, water available for the fans and with no signal for mobiles, it will make things a bit tougher for them.. May be, they can set a couple of ACSU officers in the dugout so that he can monitor the players closely rather than signal jamming and all.. Strategic time out - yes betting happens during that time but how is it related to fixing? If betting happens, it is duty of police to stop it.. It can continue if it really serves purpose..

    Best of the lot is, to speak with the IPL captains in private.. They might still have concerns on how things are handled by all the parties and it can provide a great insider information on process improvement..

  • POSTED BY on | June 11, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    How did Cheerleading become Sleezy. I think they really need to wake up and see the world. Just take care of the real problem and not ruin the fun for rest of the Paying folks. I am skeptical of the end game. To me it will just one more saga that will continue for a long time and eventually there will loop holes that others will come up with and we will back to square one. What really happened to Modi case, What happened to so many other regional cricket association leaders who were sued for the crime of cooking the books. Some of them are part of BCCI even today.

    I just dont buy it.

  • POSTED BY on | June 11, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    Barring Cheerleaders is good but why to stop parties? Jamming phone signal during matches is ridiculous.

  • POSTED BY CJC1 on | June 10, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    To quote a man who has given his heart and soul for the fans, players and betterment of cricket "Cricket increasingly seems to be pushing aside the principles of transparency, accountability, independence and upholding the best interests of the global game, in favour of a system that appears to operate through threats, intimidation and backroom deals." And the BCCI and the ICC for that matter will do what it always does in the face of such blunt honesty...

    Nothing.

  • POSTED BY raj_12345 on | June 10, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    @coldcoffee123: And from when did the US become a role model for sports worldwide? And since you raise this point, let me tell you that cheerleading is a sport in American football, not the sleazy sexist activity that it is in the IPL. Personally, I would much rather think of the european football leagues as a better role model, since there the focus is on sports, not on skirts. Very much support all the board moves. I do not see the need for this extra entertainment in IPL that only serves to reduce the joy of watching cricket and increases corruption. And for those who want to see cheerleaders, mates, sorry, but I think you are watching the wrong game.

  • POSTED BY Thomas_Ratnam on | June 10, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    What about BCCI officials and franchises?

  • POSTED BY ARad on | June 10, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    Mandating contract/financial disclosures of players and franchises, separation of selectors and franchises are no-brainers that should have been instituted from the beginning. This is a step in the right direction so better late than never. I would also like to see the same disclosure from ALL BCCI OFFICIALS as well as PAID CONSULTANTS including commentators and other journalists. WILL THE DISCLOSURES BECOME PUBLIC? If not, considering other conflicts of interest and given BCCI's alleged history of internal political maneuverings that may prevent it from acting in an open and timely manner, internal oversight will be hardly meaningful.

  • POSTED BY Cyril_Knight on | June 10, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    The timeouts are only there for advertising. Slots in the strategic timeout ad breaks are pre-sold for a higher rate than normal ad breaks. Businesses pay becuase they know that these timeouts are only taken at the most critical stage or an innings so more focus will be on the television. The timeouts serve no purpose to the actual cricket match.

    One more thing that should go, that daft horn!

  • POSTED BY sundaram530 on | June 10, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Players can always complete fixing arrangements with bookies well before the matches using non-registered phone numbers. So all these match-time restrictions will not help.

  • POSTED BY coldcoffee123 on | June 10, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    Barring Cheerleaders and parties won't stop betting/fixing. In the US, cheerleading is part of even high school sports. There is nothing wrong with cheerleading. And why should a player not allowed to party (or do whatever) when he/she is not playing? It is against the constitutional right of individual freedom. Jamming phone signal inside stadia is nonsense. Spot-fixing can be planned months in advance. If a player has agreed to give away a certain number of runs in the second over of his/her spell, then jamming phones is no solution. The only solution is a criminal law against betting and fixing. The ACU can keep investigating player activities from time to time, to keep a tab on possible betting/fixing. But to come up with ridiculous patchwork like barring cheerleading, parties, jamming signals is like putting a tape on a gushing faucet.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | June 10, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    No cheerleaders and after match parties is great news. Not sure if I read this on cricinfo but someone said "T20 is already an exciting game and there's no need to vamp it at all"! I would get rid of the time-outs too or atleast cut it to 1 timeout instead of 2.

  • POSTED BY Ramster60068 on | June 10, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    I think that though this is a good start, it is still shaky. If I was a player or owner who made or lost money by betting or fixing, I would not declare that money in my earnings. So players/owners declaring their earnings is not going to stop anything. Similarly players providing their phone numbers is also shaky, why would a player provide a number which he might use for contacting bookies. In other words, he may declare 10 phone numbers and still have several others to contact bookies. I believe that there are always ways to get around these simple steps. Steps have to be tighter with random monitoring of phone calls etc, and punishments should be life bans to deter these bad apples!!

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | June 10, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    If you remove BCCI interference from IPL , IPL will be fine. Also i think every owner has to appoint a president or ceo for his team and he is the administrator of the team with 100% capacity to change as he pleases until he is removed. That way owners will be just like any spectators. Owners will have no access to players even they own the team. Team promotion will be done by administator not owners. Owners only collect profit or loss depends on how the team is run.

    Atpresent BCCI is involved with every team , BCCI is political organization with polticians involved , so as long as BCCI is involved we have problem. IPL commissioner should never be BCCI official which is the core of the corruption problem.

    What ever dalmiya does with BCCI is eye wash. What i am saying is there needs to be separation from BCCI and IPL. BCCI should be removing or firing team. It needs to be non BCCI IPL commissioner working with other owners. They need to make IPL its own entity.

  • POSTED BY Davo234 on | June 10, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    What's wrong with cheerleaders?

  • POSTED BY Haleos on | June 10, 2013, 14:17 GMT

    Great start. They need to also include the clause of NO ONE tied with BCCI in any capacity (Officials, Current/Past cricketers contracted by BCCI) can be part of a franchise. That will take care of conflict of Interest issue. It is heartening to see that Dalmiya is doing something. He also needs to clean the house first of the vermins.

  • POSTED BY ramli on | June 10, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    Something has begun in the right direction ... will the top brass have the conviction to see that it is strictly followed and continued to be followed? That is a million dollar question to the much-more cash-rich BCCI ... let us not remain a laughing stock in international arena ... such measures will put some belief in the minds of sport lovers all over the world

  • POSTED BY ramli on | June 10, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    Something has begun in the right direction ... will the top brass have the conviction to see that it is strictly followed and continued to be followed? That is a million dollar question to the much-more cash-rich BCCI ... let us not remain a laughing stock in international arena ... such measures will put some belief in the minds of sport lovers all over the world

  • POSTED BY Haleos on | June 10, 2013, 14:17 GMT

    Great start. They need to also include the clause of NO ONE tied with BCCI in any capacity (Officials, Current/Past cricketers contracted by BCCI) can be part of a franchise. That will take care of conflict of Interest issue. It is heartening to see that Dalmiya is doing something. He also needs to clean the house first of the vermins.

  • POSTED BY Davo234 on | June 10, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    What's wrong with cheerleaders?

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | June 10, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    If you remove BCCI interference from IPL , IPL will be fine. Also i think every owner has to appoint a president or ceo for his team and he is the administrator of the team with 100% capacity to change as he pleases until he is removed. That way owners will be just like any spectators. Owners will have no access to players even they own the team. Team promotion will be done by administator not owners. Owners only collect profit or loss depends on how the team is run.

    Atpresent BCCI is involved with every team , BCCI is political organization with polticians involved , so as long as BCCI is involved we have problem. IPL commissioner should never be BCCI official which is the core of the corruption problem.

    What ever dalmiya does with BCCI is eye wash. What i am saying is there needs to be separation from BCCI and IPL. BCCI should be removing or firing team. It needs to be non BCCI IPL commissioner working with other owners. They need to make IPL its own entity.

  • POSTED BY Ramster60068 on | June 10, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    I think that though this is a good start, it is still shaky. If I was a player or owner who made or lost money by betting or fixing, I would not declare that money in my earnings. So players/owners declaring their earnings is not going to stop anything. Similarly players providing their phone numbers is also shaky, why would a player provide a number which he might use for contacting bookies. In other words, he may declare 10 phone numbers and still have several others to contact bookies. I believe that there are always ways to get around these simple steps. Steps have to be tighter with random monitoring of phone calls etc, and punishments should be life bans to deter these bad apples!!

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | June 10, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    No cheerleaders and after match parties is great news. Not sure if I read this on cricinfo but someone said "T20 is already an exciting game and there's no need to vamp it at all"! I would get rid of the time-outs too or atleast cut it to 1 timeout instead of 2.

  • POSTED BY coldcoffee123 on | June 10, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    Barring Cheerleaders and parties won't stop betting/fixing. In the US, cheerleading is part of even high school sports. There is nothing wrong with cheerleading. And why should a player not allowed to party (or do whatever) when he/she is not playing? It is against the constitutional right of individual freedom. Jamming phone signal inside stadia is nonsense. Spot-fixing can be planned months in advance. If a player has agreed to give away a certain number of runs in the second over of his/her spell, then jamming phones is no solution. The only solution is a criminal law against betting and fixing. The ACU can keep investigating player activities from time to time, to keep a tab on possible betting/fixing. But to come up with ridiculous patchwork like barring cheerleading, parties, jamming signals is like putting a tape on a gushing faucet.

  • POSTED BY sundaram530 on | June 10, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    Players can always complete fixing arrangements with bookies well before the matches using non-registered phone numbers. So all these match-time restrictions will not help.

  • POSTED BY Cyril_Knight on | June 10, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    The timeouts are only there for advertising. Slots in the strategic timeout ad breaks are pre-sold for a higher rate than normal ad breaks. Businesses pay becuase they know that these timeouts are only taken at the most critical stage or an innings so more focus will be on the television. The timeouts serve no purpose to the actual cricket match.

    One more thing that should go, that daft horn!

  • POSTED BY ARad on | June 10, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    Mandating contract/financial disclosures of players and franchises, separation of selectors and franchises are no-brainers that should have been instituted from the beginning. This is a step in the right direction so better late than never. I would also like to see the same disclosure from ALL BCCI OFFICIALS as well as PAID CONSULTANTS including commentators and other journalists. WILL THE DISCLOSURES BECOME PUBLIC? If not, considering other conflicts of interest and given BCCI's alleged history of internal political maneuverings that may prevent it from acting in an open and timely manner, internal oversight will be hardly meaningful.