Lodha panel suggests legalising betting, restructuring BCCI (Roundup)

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) The Justice R.M. Lodha Committee appointed by the Supreme Court on Monday made a host of far-reaching reccommendations to improve cricket administration in the country, including for restructuring the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and legalising betting.

The 159-page report by the three-member committee comprising former Chief Justice Lodha, Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice R.V. Raveendran — former judges of the Supreme court — also proposed that the 14-member BCCI working committee should be replaced by an apex council.

According to the panel, the apex vounvil should comprise nine members, consisting of BCCI office bearers, and elected representatives of the general body, two membres from the players’ association and a nominee from the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). Ministers and government officials should be barred from holding positions in the BCCI, the report added.

The panel proposed that the BCCI should be brought under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The BCCI has opposed the move in the past, citing its autonomy.

The various proposals in the Lodha Committee’s report to the apex ourt include separate governing bodies for the BCCI and the Indian Premier League (IPL) so as to partially segregate their functioning.

The Lodha panel also suggested limiting the autonomy of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

According to the report, the IPL governing body should be of nine members with the secretary and the treasurer of the BCCI as its ex-officio members. Two other members of the IPL governing council should be nominated or elected by the full members. Two should be the nominees of franchises, one be a representative of the players association (that is to be formed), and one a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

There is also a proposal to impose an age limit of 70 years and a maximum of three tenures for officials. “There must be a cooling off period of three years between tenures,” Lodha said during a media briefing here on Monday.

The panel stressed that one representation for one state is a fair idea as was the suggestion that each state should have only one association as a full member of the BCCI and have a right to vote.

Other members from a state, or those without territory or competitive presence — Services, Railways, CCI, NCC — should be relegated to associate status without voting rights in the BCCI, it said.

The committee also proposed the introduction of a CEO assisted by a team of six professional managers to handle the day-to-day non-cricketing affairs of the BCCI. They will be responsible to an apex council of nine members — five elected and two players’ representatives.

Issues related to the selection, coaching, performance evaluation and umpiring are to be handled by cricket committees manned only by former players.

The committee said there was lack of evidence against former IPL Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sundar Raman in connection with the 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal.

Lodha also reckoned that a robust agent registration system would safeguard players. There will be a steering committee to include former star all-rounder Mohinder Amarnath, former India women’s captain Diana Eduljee, and legendary leg-spinner and former Test skipper Anil Kumble.

They will take up matter with the BCCI for formation of the players’ association in the light of suggestions from the report.

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