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BCCI in danger of losing all office-bearers

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The dismantling of the existing power structure in Indian cricket administration could be far more comprehensive than previously thought, if the Lodha Committee’s interpretation of the modification in the Supreme Court’s January 2 order holds true. The consequence could be the removal of all the existing BCCI office-bearers and most of the senior administrators at state associations.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court modified one of the sub-clauses in its January 2 order concerning the eligibility of an office-bearer. Originally the order had said: “A person shall be disqualified from being an Office Bearer if he or she has been an Office Bearer of the BCCI for a cumulative period of 9 years.” But on Tuesday, the court modified that to: “Has been an Office Bearer of the BCCI or a State Association for a cumulative period of 9 years.”

According to the Lodha Committee’s interpretation of the modification, if a person had finished nine years as an office-bearer, whether at BCCI or state level or both combined, that person was ineligible to remain as office-bearer at BCCI or state level effective immediately. It is understood the Lodha Committee consulted legal counsel involved in the case, including the BCCI lawyer, before arriving at its interpretation.

The original Lodha Committee recommendation regarding eligibility had made it possible for an individual to serve nine years each at both BCCI and state level. According to the earlier recommendation, a BCCI office-bearer’s cooling-off period could have been a three-year term at their state association, after which they could once again contest an election for a BCCI position. And if they won the BCCI post, the ensuing three-year term would serve as their cooling-off period from holding office at state level. An individual could therefore have spent 18 years in Indian cricket administration between the BCCI and his state association.

This situation had been discussed and made clear to the Supreme Court bench during hearings of the BCCI-Lodha case. Now, however, the 18-year period has been shrunk to a total of nine years, whether they were spent at BCCI or state level, or both.

This would mean that of the high-profile BCCI and state administrators at present, only Sourav Ganguly, the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, and Arshad Ayub, the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, are likely to remain as office-bearers because most of the others have held posts for more than nine years at state level.

It also meant that there could be no interim president to head the BCCI as the court had directed, after it removed the incumbent Anurag Thakur, and secretary Ajay Shirke, from office. The court had said the most senior BCCI vice-president and the joint secretary – Amitabh Choudhury – would take over the interim roles of president and secretary respectively. (ESPNCricinfo)

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