BCCI administrator Ramachandra Guha has resigned. Photograph: (Zee News Network)
Ramachandra Guha said Sunil Gavaskar's role in the cricket set-up is a 'clear case of clear conflict of interest'
Ramachandra Guha who resigned on May 28 as the BCCI administrator citing "personal reasons" had actually quit because his "views were at odds with the direction the Committee" reveals his resignation letter which leaked in the media on Friday.
The Supreme Court had on January 30 appointed a four-member committee of administrators headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai to run the affairs of BCCI and implement court-approved recommendations of the Justice R M Lodha panel on reforms in the cash-rich cricket body.
Excerpts from Ramachandra Guha's resignation letter:
Sunil Gavaskar is head of a company which represents Indian cricketers while commenting on those cricketers as part of the BCCI TV commentary panel. This is a clear conflict of interest. Either he must step down/withdraw himself from PMG completely or stop being a commentator for BCCI.
I think prompt and swift action on this matter is both just and necessary. COA’s credibility and effectiveness hinges on our being able to take bold and correct decisions on such matters. The ‘superstar’ culture that afflicts the BCCI means that the more famous the player (former or present) the more leeway he is allowed in violating norms and procedures. (Dhoni was captain of the Indian team while holding a stake in a firm that represented some current India players.) This must stop – and only we can stop it.
Yet, despite my warnings, no action has been initiated in the several months that the Committee has been in operation.
The BCCI has accorded preferential treatment to some national coaches, by giving them ten-month contracts for national duty, thus allowing them to work as IPL coaches/mentors for the remaining two months. This was done in an adhoc and arbitrary manner.
I have repeatedly pointed out that it is contrary to the spirit of the Lodha Committee for coaches or the support staff of the Indian senior or junior team, or for staff at the National Cricket Academy, to have contracts in the Indian Premier League.
Conflict of interest is rampant in the State Associations as well. One famous former cricketer is contracted by media houses to comment on active players while serving as President of his State Association. Others have served as office-bearers in one Association and simultaneously as coaches or managers in another. The awarding of business contracts to friends and relatives by office-bearers is reported to be fairly widespread.
The way in which the contract of Anil Kumble, the current Head Coach of the senior team, has been handled. The Indian team’s record this past season has been excellent; and even if the players garner the bulk of the credit, surely the Head Coach and his support staff also get some. In a system based on justice and merit, the Head Coach’s term would have been extended. Instead, Kumble was left hanging, and then told the post would be re-advertised afresh.
Ever since the Supreme Court announced the formation of the COA, we have been inundated, individually and collectively, by hundreds of mails asking us to address various ills that afflict Indian cricket and its administration. While many of these issues were trivial or clearly beyond our purview, there was one concern that we should have done far more to address. This concerns the callous treatment to domestic cricket and cricketers, namely, those who represent their state in the Ranji Trophy, the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and other inter-state tournaments. The IPL may be Indian cricket’s showpiece; but surely the enormous revenues it generates should be used to make our domestic players more financially secure? There are many more Indian cricketers who make their living via the Ranji Trophy than via IPL; besides, for us to have a consistently strong Test team (especially overseas) we need a robust inter-state competition and therefore must seek to compensate domestic players better.
And yet, shockingly, Ranji match fees have remained at a very low level (a mere Rs 30,000 odd for each day of play); moreover, cheques for match fees sent by the BCCI are sometimes not passed on by the state associations to the players. We need to learn from best practices in other countries, where domestic players are awarded annual contracts like those in the national team, while their match fees are reasonably competitive too.
Historian Ramachandra Guha, appointed by the Supreme Court as one of the four administrators of BCCI has come out hard against the COA & BCCI (WION)