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Why BCCI is controversy’s favourite child

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-10-2016
© AP Photo

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) loves controversies. In its latest face-off with the Justice Lodha Committee, the BCCI appears to be on the backfoot.

The Justice Lodha Committee has reportedly ordered banks to put on hold the Board’s financial decisions taken at the 30 September meeting casting doubts on the future of the ongoing India-New Zealand Test and One-Day International series. The BCCI, which virtually rules the cricketing world and has courted numerous controversies, seems to be fighting a losing battle against the judiciary.

Full coverage: India vs New Zealand Series

In the past, the world cricket’s top financial powerhouse either had an upper hand or got away without facing any consequences in most face-offs it had. Whether it has been successive rounds of controversy with the International Cricket Council (ICC) or the Central government, the BCCI have had its way in most rounds, despite bad press and repeated calls for greater accountability and reforms.

© AP Photo

Here’s a list of such controversies that involved the BCCI:

2001: The most controversial incident pitting the BCCI against ICC was the November 2001 Port Elizabeth Test, involving former England player and match referee Mike Denness, who found six Indian players, including Sachin Tendulkar, guilty of various offences. It caused major outrage in the Indian dressing room and the BCCI threatened to call off the South Africa tour.

The ICC sided with Denness, while the South African cricket board sided with the BCCI and replaced him. Denness was not even allowed to enter the stadium. The match was declared unofficial. Later, the ICC overturned the bans on Tendulkar and Ganguly, but got its way in Sehwag’s case.

2007: The BCCI did not recognize the Indian Cricket League (ICL) backed by businessman Subhash Chandra’s Zee Entertainment Ltd. The BCCI declared the ICL a rebel league and imposed lifetime bans on players joining it.

2008: The BCCI asked the ICC to create a time period in the International Future Tours Programme to accommodate the IPL.

2008: As the inaugural 2008 edition of the IPL season coincided with the County Championship seasons as well New Zealand’s tour of England, the ECB refused to give No Objection Certificates to its players after county cricket clubs raised their concerns to the BCCI about their availability. The ECB also started its own domestic Twenty20 tournament to counter the influence of the IPL.

2008: Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds alleged that the BCCI had flexed its muscle to get spinner Harbhajan Singh off in the 2008 Sydney Test. The Test match was mired in multiple controversies, including allegations of racism on Harbhajan Singh.

2008: In the initial period, the IPL-backed by the BCCI, pushed restrictive guidelines to media covering matches, especially over the use of images and its monetization and the prohibition of live coverage from the cricket grounds. A revised set of guidelines were issued later after media opposition and threats of boycott.

2009: The BCCI shifted the second edition of the IPL to South Africa in 2009 after the Central government cited security reasons behind their request to change the scheduling of the tournament.

2009: The BCCI and ICC had major disagreements over the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) ‘whereabouts’ clause in 2009.

2011: The BCCI disagrees with the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) proposed by the ICC.

2013: Income tax authorities have reopened old cases involving the BCCI and slapped taxes totaling about Rs.2,300 crore for seven years after terming all its activities as “commercial”.

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