The Lodha panel which was appointed by Supreme Court put recently forwarded its recommendation regarding governance and administration of BCCI, Board of Cricket Control. These suggestions, if implemented optimally, will become the most substantial reform in Indian cricket administration. The panel was delegated with a view to sublimate the stained cricket sphere in the country. Domestic Cricket, the Indian Premier League being convoluted with multiple controversies, scams and corruption charges became the headlines throughout the last couple of years. To do away with such downers in Indian cricket, the Supreme Court took the initiative of appointing the Lodha Committee.
Recommendations by the committee are put forwarded in order to maintain greater transparency and better functioning of the board. The committee proposed a number of striking changes within the BCCI administration. In a nutshell, the ordinances will substantiate fundamental changes in the structure and functioning of the board.
A new hierarchy is proposed by the panel. BCCI is to be headed by a general body that comprises of sub committees and the IPL Governing Council. The subcommittee is entitled to manage the board's administration. The new model of governance, as proposed by the panel, follows a corporate order of hierarchy with a CEO at the top and six professionals under the leadership. The seven apex members will handle "non-cricketing affairs" and also the day to day affairs in BCCI. The aspects related to selection of players, coaching, performance and umpiring will be strictly under a separate cricket committee that will comprise of only experienced and first class veteran international cricketers.
The panel put forward a limited autonomy to IPL Governing Council. The council is given full authority over T20 tournament. This council will be formed by a steering committee headed by GK Pillai, Mohinder Amarnath, Diana Edujee and Anil Kumble.
The report suggested a nine member council as the apex body of BCCI. Ministers and government servants are strictly exempted from holding the position of the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. They should be Indian citizens. The report introduced an age limit of 70 for the posts. Furthermore, an office barrier can hold the office for three years at one stretch and can contest for elections only for three times, that too, intermittently. Therefore, no office barriers can contest for consecutive terms for any of the positions. For the president position, the tenure is shrunk to two terms. Introducing "One State- One vote rule", the report suggested that one cricket associations representing the state can vote in the 30 member general body of BCCI. State Associations, such as DDCA, would be within the ambit of scrutiny and audit of BCCI.
Three unique posts are created by the panel The Ethics, Electoral and Ombudsman Officers. Only a former high court judge can be appointed as the Ethics officer who will be associated with issues like conflict of interest, corruption, behavior and misdemeanors. The election processes of office bearers comprising of preparation of voters lists, publication and eligibility will be handled by the Election Officer. The position can only be hold by a former Election Commissioner. The Ombudsman Officer will be appointed specially for settling internal disputes between members and office bearers.
A marked development as proposed by the report is legalization of betting. However, it will be restricted only to licensed betting houses. Players, teams and match officials are strictly restricted from betting. Instances like match fixing and spot fixing are deemed as criminal offence by the panel.
The report has also recommended the formation of an Association exclusively for international and first class men and women cricketers. The members will be supported financially by the BCCI.
The Lodha Panel was form by the Supreme Court of India in order to bring a permanent solution to setbacks that shook domestic cricket in last couple of years. The recommendations are strong enough and are balanced from several perspectives. However, loopholes will be known once they are rolled out practically. On the other hand, BCCI has already expressed their concerns against the suggestions.
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