CoA skips BCCI objections, polishes Lodha reforms

The BCCI logo on the Indians' kit Cricket Australia

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has effectively put aside objections raised by BCCI office-bearers and many of its members in its final draft of a new constitution. The CoA has, instead, stood firm by the Lodha Committee recommendations and, significantly, also called for a reduction in the powers of key board positions.

The BCCI's main objections to the raft of administrative changes put forward by the Lodha Committee have been to the one-state-one-vote recommendation, the three-year cooling-off period for administrators, and to a three-man selection panel.

With respect to the one-state-one-vote recommendation and the strength of the men's selection panel, the CoA has at least left the final call in the hands of the Supreme Court, which will take it up when it reconvenes in January.

Just as significantly, the CoA has drawn up a constitution in which the powers of two of the most influential board posts - secretary and treasurer - have been clipped. Those have been ceded to the professional managers of the BCCI, an even more emphatic reminder that the essential concept of the Lodha recommendations was to separate management from policy.

ESPNcricinfo lists out the views of the CoA on the major recommendations, as well as the reasoning behind them, in the new draft.

1. One-state-one vote

Both the Lodha Committeee and the CoA agree that BCCI membership will be split into two types: Full and Associate. Full Members have voting rights, Associates do not. Both have approved that 30 states that can be Full Members and that every state will have only one vote.

"Each State shall be represented by a state cricket association duly recognised by the BCCI and such associations shall be Full Members," according to the draft. "No State shall have more than one Full Member at any given point of time."

In states with multiple current members, the Full Membership - and its rights and privileges - shall rotate annually among them. The basis of that rotation will be framed by the BCCI.

The existing members who do not have voting power become Associate Members automatically.

What this means
The biggest impact would be on state associations in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The state of Maharashtra comprises the associations of Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha; Gujarat has Gujarat, Saurashtra and Baroda.

Also losing their voting rights will be Railways Sports Promotion Board, Services Sports Council Board, Association of Indian Universities, National Cricket Club (Kolkata) and Cricket Club of India.

2. De-recognition of a Member

Every state association will need to comply with the following rules, in addition to those listed originally by the Lodha Committee, as part of its constitution, failing which its membership and grants to it would be revoked:

a) The governing body/managing committee of every state association will need to have one female representative along with two player representatives (one male, one female), in addition to a representative of the state's accountant general's office.

b) Disqualified office bearers cannot return/stay in the state association as representatives/nominees, patrons, advisors or member of any committee/council.

c) There will need to be a cooling-off period of three years after an office bearer has finished a term of three years. During this time he/she cannot return to the state association or the BCCI in any form.

What this means

A majority of old hands like Niranjan Shah (currently serving as Saurashtra Cricket Association's chief executive officer) will need to vacate their positions. Administrators like N Srinivasan, Rajeev Shukla, Anirudh Chaudhry, Amitabh Choudhury, CK Khanna, Jyotiraditya Scindia and a host of others cannot participate in meetings of the state association or the BCCI.

3. Term of an office bearer

No office bearer - whether in the BCCI or the state association - shall have consecutive terms. Further, once an office bearer has completed a term of three years he/she shall not be a member of the governing council or any committee for the next three years.

4. Disqualification of an office bearer

A person shall be disqualified from being an office bearer, a member of the governing council or any committee, or as a representative of the ICC or any similar organisation if he or she is not a citizen of India; has attained the age of 70 years; is declared to be insolvent or of unsound mind; is a Minister or government servant; holds any office or post in a sports or athletic association or federation apart from cricket; has been an office bearer of the BCCI for a cumulative period of 9 years; or has been charged by a court of law for having committed any criminal offence.

5. Powers of the BCCI secretary

The secretary, who effectively runs the daily operations of the BCCI under the old constitution, and is the signing authority on every issue, will not enjoy such powers. The CoA wants the daily management of the board to be handled by its chief executive officer.

The secretary will still, however, sign the annual accounts and other financial statements of the BCCI, along with the president and treasurer.

In a note to the court, the CoA explains that "all ministerial functions including the signing of contracts for and on behalf of the BCCI and carrying of correspondence in the name of the BCCI must be construed as day-to-day functioning of the BCCI and should be handled the CEO."

6. Powers of the BCCI treasurer

The treasurer will no longer be the final signing authority on daily financial matters. The Lodha Committee had recommended the treasurer should "make payments and incur expenditure out of the BCCI funds" as per the decisions of the Apex Council or any BCCI committee. However, the CoA has designated all such duties to the CEO.

Also, the treasurer and the joint secretary/secretary cannot operate the BCCI bank account, which should be operated by "two authorised signatories designated by the Apex Council" from among the BCCI's professional management.

According to the CoA, designating the financial authority to the CEO and his team alone will bring in accountability and transparency. "The professional management is expected to be headed by a Chief Executive Officer, who must necessarily be in charge of ensuring all timely payments and efficient administration.

"Transparency in payments, in duly audited manner, must satisfy all canons of accountability. This will ensure that no player or service provider or contractor has to seek any favours from any official of the BCCI and there would be total transparency in the matter of such payments."

What this means

It is a streamlining of the powers of two of the most influential positions in the BCCI - secretary and treasurer - who, under the old constitution, were part of or headed most of the BCCI committees. The secretary will not be the signing authority on any contracts the BCCI gets into while the treasurer will not be the authority signing of on daily financial matters of the BCCI.

7. Apex Council

One of the powers delegated to the Apex Council by the Lodha Committee was to appoint BCCI representatives for ICC and Asian Cricket Council meetings. But the CoA has said this decision will now be taken by the General Body, the "supreme" committee under the new constitution.

Since five of the nine councillors on the Apex Council are office bearers, the CoA did not want them to influence the appointment of the representative.

What this means

The general body, which has a broader representation, can make a democratic choice without being influenced by lobbying.

8. Ad breaks

The Lodha Committee had strongly recommended that a cricket match should be broadcast without any interruptions. It was part of the brief of the BCCI CEO to safeguard the interests of the viewer: " to ensure that in all contracts for television and media rights, the interests of the public remain uncompromised, and full, unhindered broadcasts of all deliveries and their replays are shown with the screen offering a full and complete view without advertisement banners or margins, and to restrict commercial time only to the refreshment and other team breaks during and between innings."

However, the CoA has tweaked that clause and asked the CEO to simply "ensure that in all contracts for television and media rights, the interests of the public remain uncompromised, and full, unhindered broadcasts of all deliveries and their replays are shown."

The CoA agreed with BCCI management that the bulk of the board's financial resources comes from television ad revenue and the CoA wants the BCCI to utilise the money to create infrastructure. But the CoA has pointed out that relaxing the norms does not mean live broadcasts get mobbed by advertisements.

What this means

Commercial breaks are not going anywhere, as long as they do not impinge on any live broadcast.

9. Selection panel

This is one of the three main recommendations the BCCI wanted the CoA and the court to take another look at. The BCCI has argued that both the vast volume of cricket and the number of teams and tournaments justifies a five-man panel.

But the CoA has agreed with the Lodha Committee and said the men's and junior selection panels should comprise three members, although the women's selection panel should be five-person strong.

What this means

The schedule for the three selectors will be monumental considering they would need to travel around the country during the domestic season.