The latest in the BCCI’s crackdown on conflict of interest within Indian cricket might force commentators contracted with the Indian board to choose between commentary and writing sponsored columns for newspapers.
According to a report in The Times of India, the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators has decided to check the contracts of commentators to check for possible conflict.
The COA, in its meeting on October 24, has decided that “the contracts between the BCCI and its commentators should be examined to see if they permitted BCCI commentators to 1) write sponsored columns for newspapers, and or 2) participate in sponsored awards/rating programmes,” continued the report.
Among the big names that could be affected by this are Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar and Murali Kartik, and Harsha Bhogle. Along with commentary, Gavaskar is a cricket expert on a news channel, while Bhogle is involved with a cricket website as well.
“As per the Lodha Committee guidelines on conflict of interest, those employed with the BCCI can’t have another source of income,” the report quoted a BCCI official as saying. “We’ve become very strict with conflict of interest issues – recently, a physiotherapist with the Indian women’s team had to quit her job because her brother is an official with a state association.
“The COA will have a look at their contracts, but the final call on this issue will be taken by a Supreme Court-appointed ombudsman, as and when he’s appointed by the apex court,” the official added.
However, this rule won’t apply to the Hindi commentators, since their contract is with Star Sports and not BCCI, as per the report.
Back in August, it was reported that Gavaskar and others enlisted in the BCCI’s panel of commentators had sign an undertaking that they don’t have any conflict of interest as per the recommendations by the Lodha panel.
COA member Diana Edulji had said that all the issues pertaining to conflict of interest are being looked into. “We have discussed the names but it has not been finalised. We need to look into the Conflict of Interest rules properly. We still don’t know who has what interest,” she had said.