Lodha Committee refuses to bail out state associations

The Supreme Court has ordered the BCCI’s state units to submit affidavits of compliance with the Lodha recommendations in order to get funds from the BCCI © Cricket Australia

The Lodha Committee has refused the BCCI’s request for directions on the release of funds to state associations despite the board’s warning that domestic cricket could come to a “standstill”. The Committee said the only remedy available to the state associations was to comply with the Supreme Court’s order of October 21.

The court had asked BCCI to “cease and desist” from disbursement of funds for any purpose to the state units unless they submitted an affidavit stating they would adopt the Lodha Committee recommendations. Only three state associations – Vidarbha, Tripura and Rajasthan [the last not recognised by the board] – have adopted all the recommendations. The other units have been reluctant and have sought the BCCI’s guidance on the matter.

“You have sought the Committee’s directions for release of payments to Associations in connection with players’ allowances, hotels, transport, hosting fees, etc.,” the Committee noted in an e-mail sent to BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke on Thursday. “Paragraph 20(i) of the order dated 21st October 2016 the of Hon’ble Supreme Court mandates compliance by the State Associations concerned before disbursement of any funds by the BCCI. Therefore the question of the Committee issuing any directions in that behalf does not arise.”

Shirke had written to the Committee on October 28 stating the BCCI was facing issues with the release of payments to state units, and pointed out that allowances to players, match officials, umpires, hosting fees to states for using their cricket infrastructure, payment to hotels, airlines, ground transport agencies could not be carried out as a result. “The Committee may issue suitable direction in this regard failing which the domestic cricket season shall come to a standstill,” he said.

According to Shirke, the state associations of Odisha, Hyderabad, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir and Assam had written requesting funds for their daily operations, failing which they would not be “able to operate and cricket in the region shall suffer and come to a standstill.”

The Committee told Shirke that no exceptions could be made for these five states and they had no choice but to follow the court order. The Committee also asked Shirke to submit, within the next five days, the Deloitte report on Project Transformation, instituted by former BCCI president Shashank Manohar when he took over the role in October last year. Deloitte, the accounting firm, was appointed to strengthen “organisational and governing structure” related to accounting and “operating practice”.

“With regard to the Associations of Orissa, Hyderabad, Jammu & Kashmir and Assam mentioned by you, you are directed to furnish the Report obtained by the BCCI from M/s. Deloitte on State Associations, as well as any undertakings submitted by the State Associations pursuant thereto. This shall be submitted within 5 days from today,” the Committee said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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