Supreme Court questions BCCI over funds allocation, political clout

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday (April 13) questioned the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over three pressing issues – the manner of their fund allocation, the excessive involvement of politicians in the daily functioning of the cricket bodies and the opposition to the 70-year age-limit for board members.

As per BCCI’s practices, the permanent members of the board earn nearly double the amount of funds as compared to the associate members. The Apex court came down heavily on this policy, saying: “Whether a member has a vote in BCCI’s general body meeting should not be the guiding criterion for allocation of funds. Why should a vote decide the quantum of money to be given to a member, whether permanent or associate? Is it because BCCI has formed a mutual benefit society where members use their vote as veto for getting funds?” a bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice FMI Kalifulla asked.

The issue was raised after the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) made a plea that relegating it to associate member status, under Justice Lodha committee’s one state-one vote recommendation, would mean the annual funds it receives from the BCCI would nearly be halved.

The MCA had also taken objection to one of Lodha panel recommendations that said that ministers and government officials should be banned from becoming BCCI members.

“Can we suggest an advisory board of politicians if you all are so keen to have their patronage?,” the bench asked, also querying if whether politicians had such a significant role to play in sporting activities in any other country. The MCA counsel had pointed towards the likes of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. “Please go outside Asia and tell us whether politicians and ministers have such a big role in the affairs of cricket bodies,” the bench said.

There has also been resistance from the MCA for the recommendation that sets 70 years as the age limit for board members. The MCA cited the example of Sunil Gavaskar and said that such a recommendation would mean he will not be able to continue as a BCCI member after three years.

“Cricketers are not like lawyers or doctors to continue forever. Even if Gavaskar gets barred from becoming a BCCI member after turning 70, it will not debar him from contributing to the development of the sport,” the bench argued.

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