New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday seemed to bow down before the Justice Mukul Mudgal probe committee, accepting most of its recommendations regarding cleaning up the Indian Premier League and the sport in general.
It is reliably learnt that the BCCI has disagreed with just two of the many recommendations made by the panel set up by the Supreme Court to investigate allegations of betting and spot fixing in the sixth edition of the IPL last year. It has refused to separate the IPL from the BCCI, insisting that it is a tournament owned and operated by the Board, and also turned down the recommendation to keep players away from employment by the parent companies of their IPL franchises.
This second point is especially relevant in the case of the close relationship between BCCI president N. Srinivasan and India captain M.S. Dhoni. Srinivasan is MD & CEO of India Cements, the company which owns the Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise for which Dhoni plays, and Dhoni is employed as a vice-president in the company.
“There is no tangible reason why a cricketer should not be employed by a franchise,” BCCI said. “There is absolutely no basis to believe that the owner of the franchise would influence his employee who may play for other franchise. It would amount to casting cloud on the character of the several renowned players who are in employment with corporate bodies and also on the integrity of the franchise owners themselves.”
However, on most other points relating to anti-corruption measures and ways to educate the players to avoid the malaise of fixing, the Board has admitted its mistakes by accepting the panel’s recommendations.
This includes keeping track of players’ interactions with their agents, and restricting access to their hotel rooms.
The BCCI’s move comes just a day before the Supreme Court takes up the Mudgal report for hearing. The report, which was submitted to the apex court on February 10, had indicted Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan for being involved in ‘betting and passing on information’ regarding the Chennai Super Kings, of which he called himself ‘team principal’.
While India Cements later tried to distance him from the franchise, the panel held that Gurunath was a ‘team official’ according to the definitions in the IPL code of conduct and operational rules. In addition, the panel raised questions over Srinivasan’s conflicts of interest, which it said could have “ arge scale ramifications” on cricket.
It also wants further investigation into allegations of betting against Rajasthan Royals co-owners Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty.
Perhaps the scariest aspect of the committee’s report was the links it found between the “players/ administrators/ politicians and declared terrorists and the underworld”.
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