Friday, November 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

BCCI undersold TV rights

NEW DELHI, Nov 2 (PTI) — The cricket board has been castigated for its functioning, selection policies and lack of accountability by the CBI which has accused it of having “undersold” TV rights for matches played in India.

“A study of guarantee money received by the BCCI in some of the tournaments shows an interesting trend which indicates that it is not commensurate with India’s standing in the cricketing world,” the report said in a separate section on “functioning of BCCI”.

According to the report, the BCCI received only Rs 1.5 crore as guarantee money for the 1999 World Cup whereas the money received by the hosts (England) for television rights over India for the series was Rs 26 crore.

The report said the BCCI received only Rs 68 lakh and Rs 46 lakh as guarantee money for the Coca Cola Cup (Sharjah) and the ICC Wills Cup (Bangladesh) during 1998 while the host countries received Rs 17 crore and Rs 35 crore, respectively.

“These figures are self-explanatory and indicate that India has undersold itself due to reasons not satisfactorily explained by BCCI office-bearers during their examination by CBI,” the report said.

However, the CBI said it had not looked into the matter of grant of television rights since this issue was being dealt with separately.

The report said, “The statements of present and past officials of the board have indicated that there were definite rumours/reports about match-fixing and related malpractices from time to time.

“It is obvious that, in spite of their public posturing now, all the office bearers of the BCCI over the past decade or so have been negligent in looking at this problem in spite of clear indications of this malaise making inroads into Indian cricket,” the report said.

The CBI said the primary reason behind this was the lack of accountability of the BCCI to anyone. “The structure of BCCI is such that it is very difficult for any person who has not previously held a post in the BCCI or affiliate units to get into cricket administration in India. This, not only, prevents infusion of fresh blood and ideas but also perpetuates a system of self-aggrandisement,” it added.

About the state units of the BCCI, the report said “most of the state units are perpetually in the control of a family or a group since its inception.”

The agency listed the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) as a case in point and said the RCA “is being run by the family for Rungtas since its inception and at present, even includes 10 employees of Rungtas as members of the RCA.”

The report said such members were basically incorporated to ensure that the unchallenged supremacy of a particular group was “not threatened during elections”.

In an interesting note, the CBI said “One Aub Gauri of Jaipur, with suspected underworld links, was in charge of security for a particular gate in a match between India and Pakistan at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur, in 1999.” The match was also found by the agency to have been fixed.

The CBI also probed the grant of in-stadia rights for advertising of domestic and international matches and said in its report that “in-stadia rights are granted without following a uniform system, thus promoting arbitariness.”

“There is a need for greater transparency in this area. The system of zonal representation in the BCCI and its selection committee also needs to be reviewed...The functioning of the BCCI at present reflects a dichotomy between running the affairs of the boards and administering cricket, in which only first aspect receives overwhelming primacy,” the report said.

The report said “There is no transparency even in the appointment of coaches, managers, physiotherapists, who are elected in the annual general meeting.”

“There is no panel available with the BCCI, from which names can be discussed and thereafter ratified on merit,” the report said, adding “Basically these appointments are an extension of patronage system to person who curry favour with the office bearers of the BCCI.”

The CBI said some of the policies of the BCCI like frequent tours to controversial venues like Sharjah, Singapore, Toronto and thoughtless increase in one-day internationals during the past decade had directly contributed to the match-fixing and related malpractices.

The CBI report said matches in non-regular venues such as Toronto and Singapore might be more prone to fixing and betting “as there is carnival-like atmosphere of non-seriousness at these venues.”

“India is the only country which plays regularly in these arenas even at the cost of not touring regular Test playing nations,” the report said.

The CBI said there was a “disproportionate increase in one-day matches being played by India vis-a-vis other Test playing nations.”

“For example, in 1999 India played nearly 40 ODIs and is scheduled to play 53 ODIs in the first 13 months of year 2000-2001, which is one of the highest by a Test playing nation.”

The CBI said such “factors have contributed to malpractices” by exposing players more to betting syndicates in non-regular venues and a surfeit of ODIs result in lower levels of motivation for players who may get a feeling that there was nothing wrong in throwing an occasional match.

“In conclusion, the BCCI has been negligent in not preventing match-fixing and related malpractices in cricket in spite of clear signals about the malaise,” the report said.

However, the CBI said the solution did not lie in the creation of a new administrative structure or overriding bureaucratic control of existing structure but by making functioning of BCCI more professional, transparent and accountable to a non-bureaucratic autonomous authority.

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