Boot out the corrupt for sport’s sake

It will be a new dawn for Indian cricket after the top court initiated a crucial step to clean up the game.

The Supreme Court has appointed a four-member panel to supervise the management of the Indian cricket board.

This was long overdue. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) needed to be reformed as it had earned the reputation of being one of the most corrupt sports bodies in the world. And the most arrogant.

There were scandals galore. What can you expect when the office-bearers were politicians, government officials and bureaucrats with vested interests?

Their love for the lucre and how to earn it deviously superseded their minuscule knowledge of the sports they were supposed to run.

It was one big party. Be a BCCI official and stick to your chair like glue till kingdom come.

The members got re-elected again and again and enjoyed all the benefits from the billion-dollar cricket business.

Lucrative contracts were awarded to favoured parties, TV rights went for a price, and money began to fill up the pockets of the officials instead of being used for the game.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) was a money-spinner for both the board and the officials.

People like former BCCI president N Srinivasan’s persistent efforts to keep his post despite vested interests signified the kind of officials present in the board.

Money can also breed arrogance. The BCCI often strong-armed other cricket bodies to get their own way.

The fact that the BCCI came up with every reason not to implement the Lodha Committee reforms despite the Supreme Court order revealed their ‘don’t give a damn’ attitude.

Thankfully, these officials have been ejected unceremoniously by the court. And the judgement states very clearly that no politician or government official can hold a post in the BCCI.

The court even turned down the Centre’s plea for a secretary from the sports ministry to be included in the BCCI. It must be applauded for this very important decision.

For too long, pot-bellied politicians and seedy bureaucrats have been the face of sport in this country.

They have monopolised sport to such an extent that it runs on their whims and fancies.

How can one justify a contingent of ministry officials accompanying the Indian team to the Rio Olympics? Then they spoil India’s name by behaving shamefully in another country.

Sportspersons other than cricketers are treated very shabbily by officials. They get C grade accommodation and very little pocket money.

During the demonitisation drive, a girl’s team had to fend for itself and the association did nothing to give them money for food or shelter.

Medal winning teams are rarely received at the airport by officials. No incentives are offered to the many “unglamourous sports” where Indians are good at.

No wonder India still ranks very low in many sports. We win only a few medals despite being such a large country.

The root cause lies in the running of sport. The Supreme Court must now take a look at all sports and reform it.

A sweeping change is the need of the hour. Get rid of politicians and bureaucrats who run the sport.

Sportspersons are the best qualified to run sports. The administration can be looked after by a select band of experts who have no vested interest.

Betting should be made legal as suggested by the Lodha Committee. This will avoid illegal rackets.

The Big Clean-Up must come sooner than later. Apply the boot on the corrupt so that the worthy can get their rightful place in the sun.

 

 

 

 

Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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