This had to happen. Monday’s Supreme Court decision was the last nail in the coffin of the BCCI top brass. The arrogance and the nonchalant attitude of the president and the secretary in not following the apex court’s order was something more than reprehensible. The latest decision was expected and now the affected parties have no other go but to toe the line. The tightening of the noose around the necks of president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke was on the cards. The richest sports body in the country flouted many a regulation so much so that the Supreme Court had to intervene to bring order in the BCCI’s functioning and also in its State units. Ever since the BCCI was flushed with money, there was no transparency in its transactions. It threw its own norms to the winds and attracted many a pointed finger. There were several points of contention between the BCCI and the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel, including the recommendation to cap office-bearers’ age at 70 years, tenure restrictions as well as a cooling-off period. The Lodha panel had also suggested one-State-one-vote policy, which was opposed by the board due to multiple State cricket associations. More than anything else, Indian cricket is about money. In this era of television battles and cola wars on turf, the country’s most popular sport is about raking in more money than ever before. Bringing the BCCI under the RTI was also recommended. The BCCI kept arguing that the president and the secretary only acted at the behest of the board members and had no real decision-making powers. It went to the extent of raking up the issue of board’s autonomy as a registered society.
But the Supreme Court thought otherwise. The BCCI stretched too far and finally the SC had to flex its muscles. As Justice Lodha himself said this is a logical consequence because the reforms were accepted by the Supreme Court and they had to be implemented. He went on to say one should understand that once the apex court verdict is delivered, it has to be obeyed. It is the law of the land. The BCCI is now pushed to the brink thanks to its ill-advised defiant stance. State units like the Hyderabad Cricket Association are no exception to controversies and corruption. There have been several cases booked by the anti-corruption unit. It is now a big task for the new committee to take sweeping measures to cleanse the system. The BCCI and the State units will have to find a new set of officials, experienced, eligible and willing to sacrifice time. Monday’s judgement could send a warning signal to other sport bodies. With the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) already in the news for wrong reasons, some more tremors are likely to run through these units. Recently, Olympians and sportspersons have filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court for a Lodha-like panel in all the associations, including the IOA. A path-breaking trend has been set. Indian sport needs to be put on a cleaner track. And this is the only way.