BCCI allowed to pay for first three England Tests

The BCCI has been asked to deal with their vendors directly, instead of routing funds through the host association © AFP

The BCCI has been allowed to pay expenses for the first three Tests between India and England by the Supreme Court but the board has been told to deal with contracted vendors directly and not transfer money to the hosting state association.

At a hearing on Tuesday, the court said the BCCI could disburse INR 58.66 lakhs to conduct the first Test in Rajkot, which begins on November 9. The board was told to follow the same process until December 3 – the second Test is in Visakhapatnam from November 17 and the third in Mohali from November 26.

The BCCI sought intervention from the court by filing an interim application on November 7, saying that unless it was allowed to enter into contracts the first Test in Rajkot would be in jeopardy. The Lodha Committee was asked to audit all the expenses paid by the BCCI.

The board said it had approached the court because the Lodha Committee had not given directives after the interim order on October 21. In that order, the Supreme Court had told the BCCI to “cease and desist” from disbursing funds to state associations until they submitted a written undertaking stating acceptance of the Lodha Committee recommendations.

The court had also asked the Lodha Committee to set a threshold value for all BCCI contracts and said that any contract above the threshold value would need the committee’s approval. The committee was told to appoint an independent auditor to oversee all contracts from the tender stage.

After the order on October 21, the BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke had sent several emails to the Lodha Committee seeking clarifications at the earliest to avoid problems with the staging of the England Tests. In its response, the committee made it clear that BCCI president Anurag Thakur would need to file an affidavit stating the BCCI would unreservedly comply with the October 21 court order.

On Tuesday the Supreme Court was told by the Lodha Committee secretary Gopal Sankaranarayanan that neither the BCCI nor the state associations had agreed to comply with the court order of October 21

The court asked the committee to appoint an auditor at the earliest, along with the set of experts including administrative officers and assistants, to vet BCCI contracts for domestic and international cricket, and the IPL.

The hearing will resume on December 5, when the court will take stock of the progress made by the BCCI and state association in implementing the October 21 order.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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