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Commentary on Lodha Commission recommendations to BCCI – IV


Chapter Four: Indian Premier League (IPL)

The Lodha Commission describes the IPL as the BCCI’s ‘cash cow’ and calls it a ‘premier league’ for the very same reasons.

The existing IPL Governing Council consists of twelve members but has no representation from the franchisees; neither does it have any independent members.

The Lodha Panel recommends a committee of nine members “comprising of three ex-officio members (the Secretary, the Treasurer and the CEO of BCCI), two representatives of the members of BCCI to be elected by the General Body, two nominees of the Franchisees, one nominee being the C&AG’s Councillor on the Apex Council and one being a nominee of the Players’ Association. “

Thus four members are independent. Only a General Body elected member can be chairperson. Members from the IPL teams are to be rotated annually and every franchisee has to have a turn on the council.

A panel presided by the Ombudsman and consisting additionally of the Ethics Officer and the CEO will appoint any other Committees/Commissions under IPL regulations.

The Lodha Commission also remarks on how some players who are modest cricketers are paid highly in the IPL while more accomplished cricketers who “don India colours and bring laurels to the nation are remunerated less”.

It adds that the path trodden by Indian cricketers is not in Team India’s best interests pointing out how many international cricketers from other nations have opted out to preserve themselves for national duty.

The Commission also recommends a gap of 15 days between the IPL season and the national cricketing calendar.

 

Chapter Five: Players’ Association & Agent Registration

The Lodha Commission recommends formation of a Player’s Association and a strict set of rules and regulations to govern Players’ Agents.

Almost all Test-playing nations excepting India have cricketers’ associations.

England and Australia have agents’ accreditation schemes.

The national boards and players’ associations administer these systems.

An independent Players’ Association is to be comprised only of retired cricketers.This association will nominate members to the Governing Body and Apex Council.

The BCCI shall fund the association.

The Lodha Commission specifically recommends formation of a Steering Committee of four members who are explicitly named as the following:

  1. Mr.G.K.Pillai, Former Union Home Secretary (Chairperson)
  2. Mr.Mohinder Amarnath, Former National Cricketer
  3. Ms.Diana Edulji, Former National Cricketer
  4. Mr.Anil Kumble, Former National Cricketer

The Steering Committee will “identify and invite all eligible Ex-Cricketers to be members of the Association, to open bank accounts, receive funds from the BCCI, conduct the first elections for office bearers, communicate the names of BCCI player nominees to the Board and take all necessary steps in this regard. “

The players’ association is to be called the Cricket Players Association (CPA).

“Membership of the CPA shall comprise:

  1. Male and female Ex-cricketers, who have played at least one International Cricket Match in any format of the game at the senior level;
  1. Male ex-cricketers, who have played at least Ten First Class Matches in any format of the game at the senior level;
  1. Female ex-cricketers, who have played at least Five First Class Matches in any format of the game at the senior level;
  1. Differently-abled ex-cricketers, who have played either International Cricket or first class cricket in any format of the game at the senior level;”

The Executive Committee will consist of a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer and two Members—at least one a woman; the term of office is two years and members can hold office for a maximum of two terms only.

The Lodha Commission expressed grave concerns about the backgrounds of player agents.

It is up to the player agents to apprise their clients on applicable principles and ethics governing the BCCI, the IPL and the game.

Player agents are also to protect their clients from “any suspicious contact or questionable overtures”.

No person other than a player representing himself/herself or his agent can conduct individual contract negotiations.

The BCCI shall form a committee to regulate registration of Player Agents. It shall consist of  5 members, of which 2 shall be nominees of the Players’ Association and 3 (including the Chairperson) shall be nominees of the BCCI. The registration committee will have the power to discipline Player Agents who violate its notified norms.

A Player Agent has to be a natural person; the Committee cannot certify any company, partnership, corporation, or other artificial legal entity.

An applicant cannot be less than 25 years in age.

The applicant must secure a clearance certificate issued by the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

He should not have a criminal record.

The Committee will be authorised by the agent to conduct a background check.

The maximum agent fee is limited to 2% of the total revenue earned by a player.

Comments:

The formation of the CPA will assist cricketers with their grievances. The existing Indian Professional Cricketers’ Association (IPCA) has never been recognised by the BCCI. Membership in the ICPA is open to all present and past first-class cricketers. The IPCA was formed in September 2002 in response to strictures imposed by the ICC concerning ambush marketing that would have affected Indian cricketers’ commercial interests. A similar cricketers’ association was formed in the seventies with Sunil Gavaskar, Bishan Singh Bedi and S Venkatraghavan prominent office bearers. The The ICPA’s long-term plans include involving players in raising funds for charities, floating a pension fund and an insurance scheme for players and the widows of cricketers and organising benefit matches for them. Arun Lal was the founder-secretary of the IPCA. Kapil Dev was another who formed an Association of Indian Cricketers in 1989. None of these bodies were ever recognised by the BCCI.

The regulation of Player Agents will help in curbing practices such as match-fixing and spot-fixing. It will also add an additional layer of professionalization to the existing cricketing set-up. Young cricketers need to be guided when it comes to choosing sponsorship deals and signing contracts with IPL teams. Experienced cricketers, too, will benefit.

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About LINUS FERNANDES

I have been an IT professional with over 12 years professional experience. I'm an B.Sc. in Statistics, M.Sc in Computer Science (University of Mumbai) and an MBA from the Cyprus International Institute of Management. I'm also a finance student and have completed levels I and II of the CFA course. Blogging is a part-time vocation until I land a full-time position. I am also the author of three books, Those Glory Days: Cricket World Cup 2011, Best of Googli Hoogli and Poems: An Anthology, all available on Amazon Worldwide.

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