Indian Premier League: Lodha panel ruling

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

Contents

2008: The conflict of interest begins

The Times of India, Jul 15 2015

K ShriniwasRao

The conflict of interest began way back in 2008

The mess in the Indian Premier League (IPL) which ended with the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, first began in the last week of January in 2008 when the BCCI announced the eight new owners. It took a while before the ownership of Rajasthan Royals became public and it was known that former BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi's co-brother-in-law Suresh Chellaram held the largest stake in the franchise.

Chellaram owned 44.2% of the Royals franchise, something that Modi ­ who worked on the league from scratch ­ decided not to make public. He held his shares in the name of a company called Tresco International, and they have now been transferred to a company owned by his daughter. The company is called Kelowna Investments Ltd.

Like Modi, his friendturned-foe N Srinivasan also had similar interests in the newly formed Twenty20 league that would go on to become a hit with cricket fans.

India Cements, a listed company of which Srinivasan is the managing director and vice-chairman and his family the largest shareholder, bought the Chennai Super Kings franchise for $91m. Srinivasan was the treasurer of the BCCI at that time.

When asked if BCCI didn't see the visible conflict of interest in handing over a franchise to its own treasurer's company, the reason given by Modi was that Srinivasan did not own India Cements but was just a shareholder.

In February 2015, the Board of Directors of India Cements Ltd. approved a proposal to vest the ownership of Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd. with its shareholders (IPL 2015 Full Schedule). In a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), India Cements said the board have approved a proposal for reorganisation of Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd, the company's wholly-owned subsidiary .

These two ownerships were the mother of all conflict of interest that gave way to many others before the Supreme Court of India decided to step in and stem the rot.

In recent months, things have changed. Chellaram isn't directly associated with the Rajasthan Royals and is no longer associated with the franchise. The Super Kings is not listed under India Cements anymore and is instead now an independent company. But all of this happened a little too late, getting the two franchises and their owners into a mess.

Decision on the IPL corruption scam

The Times of India, Jul 15 2015, Ayaz Memon

Momentous Lodha panel ruling on IPL scam will cleanse Indian cricket

The Justice Lodha committee's decision on the Indian Premier League corruption scam that has haunted Indian cricket for the past couple of years is nothing short of momentous. Most people believed that while Justice Lodha would be strict, the worst punishment would be a punitive fine for the offending franchises and the show would go on. Instead he has come out with “exemplary punishment to restore the faith of the people in the IPL and cricket.

Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra have been banned from any cricket activities associated with BCCI for life and the teams they were associated with ­ Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals ­ suspended for two years. This verdict sets off tremors not just in India but all over the world where the sport is played, and most notably in Dubai where the International Cricket Council is headquartered under the chairmanship of N Srinivasan currently.

The former BCCI president, also the promoter of Chennai Super Kings, had been at the centre of the scam, before taking position as ICC head where he finishes the first of his two-year term in September.

After transferring ownership of the franchise to a trust some months back to keep himself out of the ambit of legal action in India, Srinivasan had reportedly also `smoked a peace pipe' with opponents within BCCI and was looking forward to another year as ICC supremo. He could find himself on a sticky wicket now.

Essentially , the Lodha report is a stinging indictment of BCCI which has skirted around issues of ownership rules, conflict of interest, match fixing, spot fixing and probity in office bearers ever since IPL began in 2008.

In spite of its massive success, the League has been the fount of such problems when BCCI changed its bylaws to allow Srinivasan, then treasurer, to buy a team through his company India Cements.

Questions were also raised then ­ and haven't ceased still ­ about the ownership patterns of some franchises, including that of Rajasthan Royals of which Raj Kundra was a stakeholder till recently.

The flamboyance of first IPL commissioner Lalit Modi only added to the drama. The shifting of the venue to South Africa in season two was controversial, and as we have seen in recent weeks, became the springboard of battles between politicians of almost every major party in the country.

Modi himself became the face of the controversy in 2010 as financial irregularities in IPL surfaced. Controversy over the ownership of Kochi and Pune teams, that began as alleged financial skulduggery , was soon transformed into diabolical political games going beyond BCCI. The collateral damage of Modi's `revelations' ­ especially in national politics ­ is still to be assessed but by all accounts will be enormous. But if Modi's own role in the shenanigans is undoubted, it still does not absolve other functionaries in the governing council of IPL ­ which included senior politicians, businessmen, stellar former cricketers. Indeed, there was no robust system of checks and balances put in place at all.At the very least, the governing council should have included a reputed outsider (in the season of 2014, banker Deepak Parekh was roped in), a nominee to look after the interest of franchises and an ombudsman.

BCCI's callousness led to a licentious, casino-like IPL culture which grew a grimy underbelly that sent out tell-tale signs frequently . But the signals were ignored.

In 2012 when a TV channel did a sting operation on match fixing the establishment, with spurious intent, suspended a few marginal players instead of getting to the root of the matter.

Then the major controversy erupted in 2013, but only because Delhi police exposed the spot fixing that was to become the centrepiece of the current case.How deep the rot runs can be gauged from the fact that despite all that has transpired, even this year a player dared to approach another to allegedly spot fix! What are the ramifications of the Lodha report? IPL's brand value will almost certainly be hit. BCCI can conceivably float two new teams, but who will come and at what cost is the moot question.

If the League is to feature only six teams over the next couple of years, TV broadcast and other media rights holders will be hit badly . Also sponsors who spend millions on IPL.

There is also the issue of more than 100 people associated with the banned teams ­ support staff, coaches and especially players ­ who will be out of work. The threat to BCCI is that rivals might poach on them to start a league somewhere else.

The judiciary has often been accused and sometimes rightly , of judicial overreach. But not in this context where it has done, starting with the Justice Mudgal committee report, what BCCI singularly failed to do. The biggest import of the Lodha report is that the shield BCCI has always used to cover itself with, that it is a private society which owes allegiance only to itself, has been busted. That cricket belongs to fans is the unequivocal message of this report.BCCI's job is only to manage the sport.With efficiency, transparency and probity.

Impact on Raj Kundra

The Times of India, Jul 15 2015

Raj Kundra is declared ineligible for participation in cricket for five years under the Anti-Corrupton Code. He is also suspended for life from activities under of the Code of Conduct, and suspended for life from being involved with the BCCI in any type of cricket under the Operational Rule.

He was found guilty of misconduct for the first time but it had affected the image of the BCCI, IPL and game of cricket and brought disrepute to each one of them.

Kundra had part ownership and accreditation as team official of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) and this was not disputed by Jaipur IPL Pvt Ltd (JIPL). Kundra was `Team Official', `Player Support Personnel' and `Participant' within the meaning of relevant rules and he had indulged in betting.

The allegations of betting and matchfixing against Kundra and his wife, actor Shilpa Shetty required further investigation.Kundra has been placing bets through a known punter and he also introduced that punter to another bookie.

The gravity of offence is further compounded by his being constantly in touch with bookies and not reporting his contacts with them. Moreover, he was involved so much in betting that he introduced a known punter to another bookie.

The investigation against him was abruptly and without reason stopped by the Rajasthan Police upon receiving the case papers from Delhi Police. No reason is discernible why the investigation into a crime as serious as this was not taken to its logical conclusion.

Impact on Gurunath Meiyappan

The Times of India, Jul 15 2015

Gurunath Meiyappan is declared ineligible for participation in cricket for five years under the Anti-Corruption Code. He is suspended for life from activities under the Code of Conduct as well as being suspended for life from being involved in any type of cricket with BCCI under the Operational Rules.

There are many factors which aggravated the nature of Meiyappan's offence. He formed an integral part of CSK and most persons viewed him as a face of the team, and had knowledge of or was in a position to easily access sensitive information, team strategies, knowledge about match conditions etc.which was outside the purview of an ordinary person following cricket.

He was in regular touch with bookies and punters and several calls were traced between him and a certain Vindoo Dara Singh (a punter in close proximity with several other bookies).

Meiyappan would regularly place bets in IPL matches both in favour of his team CSK and against his team and such bets were even placed during the course of IPL match.

He has been held to be `Team Official' within the meaning of expression under the rules and for the purposes of disciplinary action, this position is not disputed.

The sums of money involved in betting by him are quite substantial and the panel also noted a lack of remorse on his part.

By regularly placing bets in matches -even during the course of IPL match -he acted in gross violation of the Anti-Corruption Code.

His habit of regularly placing bets in IPL matches renders the argument of his being first offender and unblemished antecedents in previous IPL tournaments of no worth. That he suffered a loss of Rs. 60 lakh in bets shows that he engaged in heavy betting.It is his bad luck that he did not make money out of this. Any agony suffered by him because of media coverage or any hardship that may have been caused to him is too small in comparison to the huge injury he caused to the reputation and image of the game.

Charitable work, if any, by the family business is hardly a mitigating factor. It is difficult to accept that he has passion for the game. Any person who has true passion for the game would not be involved in betting.

Impact on India Cements Ltd (ICL) and Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Limited (JICPL)

The Times of India, Jul 15 2015

Once Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra are accepted as team officials, their misconduct which has adversely affected the image of the BCCI and the league as also the game and brought each one of them to disrepute can result in imposition of one or more sanctions. It is noteworthy that those sanctions are not limited to Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra along but may extend to suspension of the team or the franchisee from the league also.

Taking into consideration all relevant facts and circumstances, the Committee suspended both Franchisees and Teams from the League for a period of two years.

In case of ICL, the observations leave no manner of doubt (of) the misconduct of betting committed by Meiyappan apart from the action being taken against him, and will result the action being taken against the franchisee. The acts of betting by Meiyappan, which is further accentuated by the position he held in CSK, with the implicit approval of the franchisee owner India Cements. The Committee is of the opinion that the CSK franchisee owner is responsible for failing to ensure Meiyappan (Team Official) has complied with the BCCI Anti-Corruption Code, IPL Operational Rules, IPL Regulations and hence the franchisees actions are in violation of IPL Operational Rules and the franchise agreement.

Not only that no urgent action was taken by the ICL against Meiyappan but no action is shown to have been taken by the ICL against him. The order of suspension passed by the BCCI against Meiyappan after his arrest is not an action by the ICL against its Team Official.

Meiyappan was in the position of owner. He is the son-in-law of N. Srinivasan, managing director of ICL, which is the franchisee of the team CSK and Meiyappan was considered to be the face of the owner, due to his actions. Therefore, offences of such persons who are the face (representative) of the owner would have to be considered as acts of the owner and the actions of such person which bring the game into disrepute.

There are materials which justify an appropriate investigation to ascertain the culpability of Raj Kundra and his wife Ms. Shilpa Shetty in placing bets as owner of the franchisee in IPL.

Any such culpability on the part of Kundras would fasten liability on the franchisee and it would be incumbent to ascertain such liability of the franchisee for purposes of appropriate sanctions under the Operational Rules andor the Franchise Agreement.

Impact on Chennai Super Kings

The Times of India, Jul 15 2015

Dwaipayan Datta

The brand Chennai Super Kings was built around one player -MS Dhoni. Now that CSK ceases to exist, some of the other franchises will see it as a golden opportunity to buy the most marketed face in world cricket at present from the next auctions. “All our players, including Dhoni, have yearly contracts, and they can go back to the auction pool if we are out of it,“ a CSK source said. But there are many who believe that Dhoni, who is also one of the vice-presidents of India Cements, may not choose to desert the ship at this crucial juncture. There are such examples in international football -Gianluigi Buffon chose to stay on with Juventus in 2007 when the team was demoted to Serie B for matchfixing scandal. “In CSK, Dhoni's is the last word on every issue. There is absolutely no pressure from the management and he can play with a free mind. He loves playing for CSK and that's why he never misses a game, unless he is severely injured,“ a source in the know told TOI.

Dhoni shares a very close bond with the management and if there is a request from the top bosses of CSKCL to stay back at a time when the team needs rebuilding, the Indian limited-overs captain may not be averse to the idea. “As it is there was some talk that Dhoni might not play for too long post the 2016 IPL. There could be a situation where he chooses to stay with the team that has gone a long way in making the player that he is today,“ a source said.

Dhoni was picked up from the auctions in the first year of the IPL in 2008 and he guided the team to title triumphs in the first four years. It was under his leadership CSK played six finals and has been the team to beat. It also coincided with his rise as the Indian captain which culminated in India winning the 2011 World Cup. Later in the year, after India's Test debacle in England and Australia, it was the then BCCI president N Srinivasan who went out of his way to ensure that he stayed at the helm of affairs. Since then, CSK played three more IPL finals in 2102, 13 and 14, losing all three, as Dhoni went from strength to strength. “It's not that CSK have always been very consistent in the last four seasons, but unlike other franchises, the owners have never asked Dhoni any questions. It would be interesting to see if Dhoni chooses to try his luck in another franchise,“ a source said.

Figure-wise

CSK spent $4.2m on eight players in the 2015 player auctions after retaining 15 players. That puts the total approximate value of all cricketers in CSK on an average of $15m.

The Royals spent $2.1m on eight players in the player auctions after retaining 14 players. The total approximate value of all players in Royals stands at an average of $8m.

If CSK and RR sit out, none of the other teams have space nor the purse to absorb 45 cricketers. The only way these cricketers can play is if the BCCI auctions two new franchises and allows them a fresh purse to buy these cricketers.

The other way out is for these franchises to sell out. However, the present valuation is unlikely to fetch these eight-year-old franchises much in the back drop of the controversies and their sacking.

Lodha Committee’s recommendations: 2016

The Times of India Jan 05 2016

Partha Bhaduri

Lodha Committee Suggests Complete System Revamp But `Ensures The BCCI's Autonomy Is Not Affected'

The Indian cricket board (BCCI) could be in for a radical overhaul after the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha Committee proposed several significant changes in the body's administration and governance.

The panel's report covers a wide arc from tenures of officials to ticket distribution.It seeks to impose strict eligibility criteria, limit association votes to one per state, prevent concurrent holding of posts and keep out ministers and government servants. It has also made a strong appeal to lawmakers to legalise cricket betting for all except stakeholders like players, coaches etc, with certain safeguards.

TOI had first reported on December 27 that the panel was likely to make these farreaching recommendations.

The report also seeks to decentralise and professional ise the board's functioning, give players a voice through a new players' association, provide “limited autonomy“ to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and do away with redundant voting patterns. The Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha Committee stopped short of renaming the BCCI on Monday as it called for sweeping changes in the administration and governance of the cricket board. Justice RM Lodha said the “biggest challenge“ for the three-member panel while seeking to cure Indian cricket's ills was to ensure the “good bacteria was not lost“ while providing “the right dose“. He admitted the easy way out would have been to bring the cricket body under the gover nment's control.“But we had to ensure the autonomy of BCCI was not affected,“ he said.

If followed in toto, the proposals may set off an earthquake within the BCCI's corridors which will leave big guns scrambling for cover and rule out many from future positions as administrators. It will also leave many established state associations and members as mere appendages without voting rights.

As it stands, these recommendations will be taken up by an SC bench later this month.While the BCCI naturally has strong objections to the proposed changes and will be given an opportunity to respond, the board may have no choice but to implement the changes in part or full if the court passes orders. “If they don't follow these proposals it will be shoved down their throats,“ legal sources in the know told TOI.

The only one left smiling on Monday was former IPL COO Sundar Raman, who was spared punitive action after his role as a willing accessory in the IPL spot-fixing scandal could not be satisfactorily ascertained.

The report does a thorough job of peering into every contentious nook and cranny in the board's existing set-up. It prises apart long-established cliques and dismantles core structures. Nothing -from seeking to bring the board under the RTI's ambit, legalize betting and criminalize spot match-fixing, check regional imbalance, provide norms for registration of agents, dismantle zonal representations and put conflict-of-interest roadblocks in place -seems to have escaped its eagle eye.

Wherever possible, the report also recommends putting external watchdogs in place, from retired judges to former election commissioners. An important recommendation is the appointment of three independent officials, an ombudsman to preside over and formulate dispute resolution mechanisms, an ethics officer to constitute conflict-of-interest parameters and an electoral officer to oversee voting patterns and norms. In what is likely to give the Delhi cricket association bosses the shivers, proxy voting too has been ruled out.

The BCCI's primary headaches, for the moment, are the “one person, one post“ and “one state, one vote“ recommendations. The BCCI has to now decide which association to give voting rights to, and which association to leave out.

A new all-powerful general body will preside over a ninemember apex council (for all non-IPL cricketing matters) and a governing council (for IPL matters). The almost-sacrosanct working committee has been deleted from the board's books, in favour of a more corporate set-up. How seamlessly it can integrate with the board's ad-hoc manner of functioning, however, is another matter. The BCCI also has concerns over whether such a decentralized system will lead to multiple authority figures and confusion.

Uniform distribution of subsidies to state associations have been done away with, to be replaced by a new “subsidyas-per-need“ basis. In short, state association books will be audited by the BCCI's auditors and they have to show development and infrastructure works to keep taking more of the BCCI's money .

“The committee feels that since the BCCI performs public functions, people have the right to know activities of the BCCI. 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,“ Lodha said, while admitting the BCCI was functioning better than most other sports associations in the country: “We cannot overlook the good work done by the BCCI in conduct of the tournaments, matches, and improvement in the infrastructure...or in providing financial help by way of pension.“

LODHA'S LANDMARK BLUEPRINT

Cricket administration and management as we know it in India, is set for a major overhaul after the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha Panel laid out an entire tome of proposals which could have far-reaching impact on the sport in India. The key recommendations, in brief...

MEMBERSHIP

Under `One State, One Vote' credo only associations representing states have voting rights as full BCCI members ­ 30 votes. Any other existing members ­ Services, Railways, Cricket Club of India, even Vidharba ­ would be only Associate Members.ZONES: The traditional form of zonal divisions would not be relevant for nomination to governance in BCCI or any Standing Committees. Zones will only exist for events conducted amongst themselves.

STATE ASSOCIATIONS

Full Members b will restrict tenures of office bearers, do away b with proxy voting and be open to scrutiny and L audit by the BCCI. Under one person, one post, a BCCI secy Anurag Thakur (Himachal Pradesh s CA, prez), BCCI Jt secy Amitabh Chaudhary i (Jharkhand State CA, prez) and BCCI treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhary (Haryana CA, S secy) will have to relinquish at least one of c the two posts. DDCA, which thrives on c proxy voting, will have to change its laws. s G

LIMITED TENURES

The terms of office-bearers will be of 3 years, with 3 maximum terms regardless of the post, and with a cooling off period after each term. Current secretary Anurag Thakur cannot immediately contest for BCCI president's post after completion of his current tenure. Also, no office bearer above 70 years could mean end of Mumbai CA president Sharad Pawar (75+) and TNCA's N Srinivasan (71+) in BCCI.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Norms ensuring no direct or indirect, tractable or otherwise conflict in functions of BCCI and IPL franchisees. An ethics officer will mediate over conflict of interest interpretation.

OMBUDSMAN AND ELECTORAL OFFICER

An independent ombudsman will resolve grievances as per the procedures laid down. An independent electoral officer will oversee electoral process.

COMING UNDER RTI

Since the BCCI discharges public functions under the India name, it is to come under the RTI Act for greater transparency. All rules and regulations, norms, details of meetings, expenditures, balance sheets, reports and orders of authorities are to be uploaded on the website as well.

LEGALIZE BETTING

Under an in-built mechanism and via licenced betting houses, but keeping out all BCCI stakeholders. Disclose assets to verify their noninvolvement. Also, propose to criminalize match-fixing.

SELECTION COMMITTEE

The men's selection committee will now comprise only three former Test cricketers (need to have retired 5 years previously). The senior-most player shall be appointed as chairperson.Gagan Khoda (Central Zone) will need to make way.

GOVERNANCE SEPARATED FROM MANAGEMENT

The 14-member Working Committee is replaced by a 9-member Apex Council (with one-third independent members). It will comprise BCCI office bearers, an elected representative of the General Body, two representatives of the Players Association (one man and one woman) and one nominee from the CAG's office. A CEO will handle noncricketing affairs.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Independent auditor to verify how the Full Members have expended the BCCI grants, to record their targets and milestones, and to submit a separate compliance report in this regard.

Basic structure, as Lodha sees it; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India Jan 5 2016

The selection committee proposed by Justice Lodha

The Times of India Jan 05 2016

The captain gains in power in the new selection committee proposed by the Lodha panel. Here is how it will work....

Selection committee will consist of three persons to be appointed by the board at the AGM. Only former Test players shall be eligible, provided that they have retired at least 5 years previously. The senior-most Test cap shall be appointed as chairperson.z The men's selection committee shall appoint a captain for the team who shall be an ex-officio member of the Committee. The captain, however, shall not be entitled to vote. In the event of there being an equality of votes for the appointment of captain, the chairperson shall have a casting vote.z In the event of there being no majority agreement over the selection of the players, the captain's wishes in that regard shall prevail.z On overseas tour, the cricket manager-coach, captain and viceCaptain shall constitute the selection committee.z Selection committee shall also be responsible for vetting and selecting coaches and support Staff (physiotherapists, trainers, therapists, analysts and medics) for the respective teams, as well as providing evaluation reports of the respective team performances to the proposed apex council on a quarterly basis.

The IPL Governing Council proposed by Justice Lodha

The Times of India Jan 05 2016

The Lodha Panel has suggested a Limited Autonomy for the IPL, saying that “the governance of the IPL has left much to be desired.“

Run by a committee of twelve which denies any role to the franchisees, with ten members representing the Full Members and two former cricketers, the panel felt that the IPL Governing Council needs to be reconstituted comprising representatives of the Full Members, franchisees, players and an independent auditor.

The Committee proposes a Governing Council with nine members, comprising of three ex-officio members (the Secretary, the Treasurer and the CEO of BCCI), two representatives of the BCCI to be elected by the General Body, two nominees of the franchisees, one nominee being the CAG's Councillor on the Apex Council and one nominee of the Players' Association.

Consequently, four out of nine members of the IPL Governing Council will be independent of BCCI, thereby providing autonomy. One of the two representatives of the BCCI members elected by the General Body shall be the Chairperson of the Governing Council. The franchisees shall rotate on an annual basis and no on shall be represented again until others have had a turn.

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