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The Supreme Court continues to crack the whip on the BCCI




For the past few years, there has been increased pressure on the BCCI to clean up its act, and there has been a corresponding counter pressure by the BCCI that they will not change. The BCCI controls a large amount of money (after all, cricket is a very popular game in India) and this money and the power that it provides (and also, it is to be expected that the amount of money means that some diversion is always possible) ensures that you have a number of politicians who get involved. Some of the more famous ones include, Arun Jaitley, Sharad Pawar, Laloo Prasad, and the new kid on the block, Anurag Thakur. In the case of the new ones, they are far smarter and plan their involvement in the cricket board, as well as how to benefit from their involvement.
For many years, there were complaints that there was a lot of racketing going on inside activities related to cricket, but at the same time, due to the huge political power that the cricket establishment commanded, and the sheer failure of the BCCI to do anything to clean the game in the country, there was a sense of disgust about the level of corruption. The powers behind the BCCI (including the second most important person in the country’s Government, Arun Jaitley) refused to do anything about this. In fact, the current President of the BCCI, the BJP’s Anurag Thakur is involved in a controversy about the ownership and control of a stadium in Himachal Pradesh and has charges against him. And of course, the less said about people such as Sharad Pawar and Laloo Prasad Yadav, the better. And these are political rivals who are totally against each other politically, and yet, when it comes to cricket and its bounty, they are all with each other.

Finally, the IPL scandal came to a high level of controversy. The police got involved, charging players such as Sreesanth and others with involvement in match-fixing and betting. This included the son-in-law of Srinivasan, the President of the BCCI at that time. There are a huge number of adherents to the IPL and it is very popular, but there is also a large number of people see the IPL as a fixed sporting spectacle rather than a serious event, and are quite sure that there is a lot of corruption inside the IPL. The controversies over the past few years and the lack of any real investigation or action by the board just showed that there was no real intention to cleanup cricket in India. It was just waiting for somebody to come in start the cleanup, and the Government by itself would not really do this because of the political interference and implications.
Finally the Supreme Court got into the business, having been clear that the Government will not do anything. How to do anything such as reforming cricket in India ? It is not just a judgment. So a committee was setup to work out details of how to do the cleanup, and when it came out with its suggestions, it would have given a heart-attack to the BCCI and the politicians involved in different positions in the BCCI. The cleanup does not address the scandals and controversies that have happened till now, but tries to make the BCCI more professional, and most importantly, reduce the role of politicians in running the cricket body. The prospects are radical, they try to reduce the current power centers of some states where there are multiple voting associations (now, each state can have only one association that has voting rights), age restrictions on the office bearers (which rules out some of the existing office holders), and restrictions on government officials and ministers in terms of their ability to hold office in the association. The attempt to ensure that one of the senior officials is a CAG officer is designed to keep the corruption in check.
The BCCI has been screaming and protesting, but the court is refusing to listen, and wants to ensure that these proposals are implemented well. Maybe this might ensure that cricket is finally cleaned up.




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