IPL spot-fixing: Supreme Court order could change everything for Indian cricket

0
248

January 22, 2015

This could change everything for Indian cricket. The BCCI can no longer operate like its own little country, where it makes whatever laws it wants and acts as its own judge, jury and executioner.

January 22, 2015

This could change everything for Indian cricket. The BCCI can no longer operate like its own little country, where it makes whatever laws it wants and acts as its own judge, jury and executioner.

The Supreme Court has lifted the lid and let in a little sunshine by making it clear the BCCI performs public functions and therefore can be challenged in a court of law. The board can no longer hide behind the fig leaf that it is a private body and therefore can do as it pleases. It will be answerable to the world beyond its walls.

Having enumerated the principle, the Court put it into practice by unambiguously striking down Rule 6.2.4 that allowed N Srinivasan to buy Chennai Super Kings.

8. If the purity of the game is undermined then the essence of the game will be lost. Rule 6.2.4 is unsustainable and illegal. #BCCIJudgment— Rahul Mehra (@TheRahulMehra) January 22, 2015

Thanks to the Supreme Court, not only will we no longer have to tolerate the absurd situation of Srinivasan making decisions that affect the IPL while owning an IPL franchise but also no cricket administrator can have a commercial interest in the sport of cricket. Anybody who does won't be able to contest BCCI's elections. If they want to serve cricket, they must serve it rather than further their own interests in the guise of serving it.

It also sends the message that if the board makes other laws in the future that impinge on its public functions; the court could strike those down too.

What's more, the Supreme Court recognized that the BCCI could not be trusted to wield its own broom. "The power to punish the guilty vests with the BCCI but in the current context it cannot be left to the BCCI," the court said. It is a particularly scalding observation.

Instead, the Supreme Court has set up an independent committee that will make recommendations on amendments to the BCCI's constitution and by-laws, as well as sports fraud and conflict of interest.

This could turn out to be even more of a game-changer than the scrapping of rule 6.2.4. It is a process that is beyond the reach of the BCCI's power brokers and threatens to force them to straighten up and fly right. This should frighten those who currently walk the halls of power in the board. They will no longer be able to function in secret and shadow. Their decisions and intentions will be scrutinised and if found wanting, challenged and possibly overturned.

Back in October 2013, I wrote that the Mudgal Committee had the potential to clip the BCCI's wings because it was a truly independent investigation reporting directly to the Supreme Court.

"This is unprecedented in the history of cricket administration in India," I said at the time. "Even in the dark days of the match-fixing allegations in 1999 and 2000, the BCCI was not beholden to any other institution."

The hope was that the truth would come to light and the BCCI would be forced to take action by the court. Whatever else happens from here, the board's wings have been officially been clipped. It no longer has the authority to make whatever rules and regulations it desires.

The Supreme Court has left the door open for Srinivasan to return. All he has to do is give up Chennai Super Kings. But even if he does, he won't be able to suffocate the game in the way he has over the last three years. For the first time in its history, the BCCI has someone looking over their shoulder.

The board had every opportunity to right its own wrongs. As usual, it did not. "It pains me but we earned every bit of it," former BCCI president IS Bindra told Times Now. "We inflicted this pain on ourselves. We showed a complete lack of good faith and honest intentions and we are paying the price for that."

The winds of changing are finally blowing. And at long last, there is nothing the BCCI can do about it.


Courtesy: PTI