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BCCI re-stakes claim over Indian cricket, says only its committees can take decisions

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Through its special general meeting, BCCI reiterates that the structures in place will be adhered to. The CoA’s response remains to be seen.

New Delhi: A special general meeting (SGM) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the capital Friday was special in more ways than one.

For starters, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) had instructed employees of the BCCI to stay away from the gathering, making this perhaps the first meeting that was not officially minuted by those who have performed the task for decades.

More importantly, however, it remains unclear if any of the decisions reached by the SGM, which includes a meeting of the Working Committee — the all-powerful part of BCCI that is tasked with passing all resolutions and implementing recommendations — will stand after the CoA examines these resolutions.

In the past, the CoA has deemed many such meetings ‘illegal’ and thereby set aside any decisions taken in such meetings as ‘fruit of the poisoned tree’.

Crucially, the BCCI SGM passed the pay hikes for players across all levels, something that was a bone of contention between the CoA and BCCI office bearers. Recently Diana Edulji, the former India left-arm spinner and member of the CoA, had told The Indian Express that player payment increments had not been implemented because the acting secretary had not signed off on these new contracts. The acting secretary, for his part, said that the only reason he had not signed off on these contracts was procedural as the matter had not been placed before the Working Committee, as is the norm.

As it happened, this was the first item on the agenda during the SGM and the members of the BCCI resolved that “the player contracts as tabled by the Acting Secretary for the season 2017-18 be and are hereby authorized to be executed for and on behalf of the BCCI by the Acting Secretary.”

The General Body of the board further agreed to enhance the remuneration of all domestic players, both men and women. It also directed the acting secretary that all relevant information and proposals be made available to the relevant committees, failing which, to the members of the general body for their consideration. A provision was made to revisit the payment structure at the end of the 2017-18 season.

There were multiple other decisions taken that are bound to attract the attention of the CoA.

“There has been a transparent and democratic policy in place at the BCCI to deal with the commercial rights and sponsorships. The processes go through the administration and then the Marketing Committee and finally through the General Body,” resolved the BCCI members. This is another decision designed to protect the sanctity of the General Body, something that the CoA does not necessarily subscribe to.

With regard to the Indian team participating in International Cricket Council tournaments, including but not limited to the World Cup and the ICC World Twenty20, the meeting instructed the acting secretary to communicate to the ICC that any Members Participating Agreement signed by the BCCI had to be approved by the relevant body, which, once again, is the General Body.

Another crucial decision taken at the SGM was that Uttarakhand, slated to become the next first class team to debut in the Ranji Trophy, might have to wait a bit longer.

“All the teams presently playing Ranji Trophy shall play in the Elite Group of Ranji Trophy. The new teams, namely Bihar and the North Eastern States who are represented through the respective BCCI members shall play in the Plate Group of Ranji Trophy.”

All in all, the BCCI, through this SGM, reiterated that the structures in place, based on the constitution of the board, would be adhered to. How the CoA will react, which of these things will be accepted, considered or taken to the courts to be challenged, remains to be seen.

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