Players told to disclose business interests

Kolkata, July 29 -- One of the significant decisions taken by the BCCI on Sunday was to ask cricketers to declare their interests in sports management companies. According to interim BCCI president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the board had changed its "mode of working" when it comes to keeping a check on players' conflict of interests.

"We don't believe you have to be after any player or anybody. Therefore, the players will have to declare their interest in sports management companies. We will see how we can help them," said Dalmiya after the working committee meeting.

It could be much more complex than that. The BCCI already keeps a tab on how much they pay to the players, via the annual contract and on per-match basis. This decision means the BCCI has given itself a reason to probe further into a player's life.

It all started with MS Dhoni though. The India captain is the face of Rhiti Sports, headed by friend Arun Pandey, with whom he has an endorsement deal worth R200 crore. That was fine till it emerged that Dhoni also had a 15% stake in the company for a little over one month earlier this year. That means for that period, Dhoni was both India captain and stakeholder in a company that manages players like Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Pragyan Ojha.

It puts Dhoni in a spot of bother, more so if two players handled by the same company are involved in a heated altercation on the field, as it happened between Raina and Jadeja in Port-of-Spain.

Currently, most of the India players are managed by top sports management companies. World Sports Group has managed Sachin Tendulkar's portfolio for more than 15 years now. It also manages Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara. Another top company, Professional Management Group, manages the profiles of Virender Sehwag, Manoj Tiwary and Varun Aaron.

With rising clamour for transparency, Sunday's decision could finally provide some clarity. But it also means that in times when players need to seek permission to even speak to the media, the BCCI would now effectively be privy to all financial details of a cricketer. Most won't bother, but what about the cricketers?

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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