'An institution functions on trust' - Manohar
Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, has placed the blame for the current crisis in the IPL squarely on Lalit Modi, for he was entrusted with the running of the league
Apart from the obvious issues relating to the fate of Lalit Modi and the charges against him, there was one key question surrounding Monday's press conference following the IPL governing council meeting: What was the council's responsibility in overseeing the working of the IPL, and what was the extent of its culpability in the current mess?
The response of Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, was three-fold: first, the council was not informed of most of the chairman's work; second, that it was not the job of the council members to scrutinise the work anyway, and, third, that there was a full-fledged secretariat - and the hired help of IMG - to ensure things were run in a professional manner.
"An institution functions on trust," Manohar said. "If I have to do all the jobs, I don't need executives. Why do I need a secretary? Why do I need other people? Because even in your institution your managing director does not look into where you're going, what you're doing and if you commit something wrong, your managing director is not responsible for that.
"If you are expecting every governing council member to come here every morning at 10 and leave at 10 in the night to look at what is happening everywhere, then we don't need the other staff which is there. Then we don't need to pay IMG Rs 27 crore [approx $6 million] and we don't need a CEO to running the IPL. It is their job to do all these things."
He expanded on the theme, essentially saying the council entrusted Modi with running of the league and left it at that. "Any public organization functions on trust because each and every person can't go and check every aspect or each and every document in an organization. There are huge companies that are run by people and those people, once a decision is approved, don't go and look at the document whether it is properly executed or not. It is the job of the professionals and the executives who are appointed by the institution to do that job.
"An allegation is being made and the media is saying all the members of the governing council are party to all the decisions. Now most of the contracts have been entered into without the consent of the governing council and they've been brought to the governing council after the contract was signed. So the governing council has no other option and are presented with a fait accompli," Manohar reason, before citing an example.
"I came here [Mumbai] three days in advance to look into all the documents and contracts in view of the ongoing controversy. I called Sundar Raman [the IPL CEO] because on that day in the evening there was an IPL awards function. I asked for the contract of that function and I was told 'Sir, there was no contract. The contract terms were finalised last night.' And this he informs me at 3 in the afternoon when the function is going to be held at 7 in the evening.
"Thereafter, if this issue comes before the governing council, what do you expect the governing council to do? Do you expect the governing council to say, 'No, we reject this contract and we're going to cancel this function', when the function is already over," Manohar asked.
Manohar's apportioning of the blame squarely on Modi, absolving the governing council of its responsibility in the matter, is at odds with the views of MAK Pataudi, a council member and now one of the three former cricketers entrusted with working out a mechanism for the next IPL season. Pataudi had last week said the governing council had been a failure because the members should have been more aware of what was happening.
Manohar was also questioned on the issue of professionalism within the IPL, in answer to which he pointed to the appointment of IMG to help run the tournament. "As far as the IPL is concerned, we knew that this is a huge and valuable property. Therefore we appointed professionals like the IMG, who conduct tournaments like Wimbledon and the FIFA world cup. And we are paying them a huge sum of Rs 27 crore for all operational things.
"It the duty of IMG, because they are the corporate entity and their job is to look after the professional things and the normal functioning of IPL games. We also appointed a professional CEO, Sundar Raman, for the IPL who is also paid a huge salary. We have a separate staff for IPL and so I don't understand what media means by saying `professional people' for running the event," he said.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo