Lodha panel for mega BCCI shake up, wants politicians out of cricket

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee on Monday recommended sweeping reforms for the controversy-ridden BCCI, suggesting a bar on ministers from occupying positions, putting a cap on the age and tenure of the office-bearers and legalising betting.

 In a series of drastic reforms, the three-member panel, headed by Justice (Retd) R M Lodha, also suggested one unit should represent one state, while taking away the voting rights of institutional and city-based units.

The committee also suggested the restructuring of the BCCI’s administrative set-up, proposing the position of a CEO accountable to a nine-member apex council.

Addressing a crowded press conference after submitting a 159-page report to the Supreme Court, which will decide whether these recommendations would be binding on the BCCI, Lodha said he held 38 meetings with Board officials, cricketers and other stakeholders.

“First thing is about the structure and the constitution.

As you know, presently the BCCI has 30 full members. Some of these members do not have any territory like Services, Railways etc. Some of them do not play tournaments. Some of the states have multiple members like Maharashtra has three, Gujarat has 3. With the interactions we had, except few it was broadly represented to us that one state as a unit of representation in BCCI is a very fair idea,” Lodha said as h gave detailed explanations for the recommendations.

Among the most sensational recommendation by Lodha panel was the suggestion to legalize betting. The panel felt that the move would help curb corruption in the game and recommended that except for players and officials, people should be allowed to place bets on registered sites.

The panel said that to ensure transparency in the BCCI’s functioning, it is important to bring the body under the purview of the Right to Information Act, something that the Board has vehemently opposed in the past citing its autonomy.

“…since the BCCI performs public functions, people have the right to know the functions and facilities and other activities of the BCCI and therefore in our opinion whether RTI Act is applicable to BCCI or BCCI is amenable to RTI is sub-judice. We have recommended the legislature must seriously consider bringing BCCI within the purview of the RTI Act,” Justice Lodha stated.

Putting a cap on the age and tenure of the BCCI office-bearers, the committee said that the Board members should not hold office for more than three terms.

Justice Lodha said hat the President can have only two terms of three years each but other office bearers can have three terms. There will be a compulsory cooling off period after each term for all office-bearers.

“As regards the office bearers of BCCI – President, VP, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer, certain eligibility criteria has been fixed like, he must be an Indian, he must not be above age of 70, he must not be insolvent, he must not be a minister or a government servant and who has not held office in the BCCI for a cumulative period for nine years,” Lodha said.

“The present system gives as many as three votes to the President of BCCI – the first is as person representing a State Association which is a permanent Member of BCCI, the second as chairman of the meeting under Rule 5(i) and the third is a casting vote in the event of a tie, vide Rule 21.

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