Board of Control for Cricket in India CEO Rahul Johri on Friday sidestepped queries of the organisation coming under the Right to Information Act,.
The move could become a reality after the country’s cricket board finally agreed to the National Anti-Doping Agency norms. By coming under the ambit of NADA following a meeting with sports ministry, the BCCI has effectively become a National Sports Federation despite being a financially autonomous body. The implication of this development is expected to be massive as BCCI will now face more pressure to come under RTI Act as per government norms.
But Johri evaded questions on the subject, saying: “RTI is not on the agenda of today’s meeting. It is out of context.”
BCCI’s decision to come under NADA came after Johri and the board’s GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim met Sports Secretary Radheshyam Jhulaniya and NADA DG Navin Agarwal here on Friday.
“We have to follow the law of the land and the BCCI is committed to following the law that exists. The letter which we have signed states that we accept the law of the land,” Johri said after the meeting.
Asked whether the Committee of Administrators is mandated to take such a decision in the absence of an elected general body, Johri said: “Whoever is in existence the law of the land is there. So, you and I can’t choose at what time to follow the law of the land.”
The BCCI CEO said the cricket board has agreed to come under NADA after the Sports Ministry assured that all its concerns would be addressed.
“We have raised a lot of concerns, we have listed them out and they have agreed to address all these,” Johri said.
The BCCI was vehemently opposed to signing up with NADA, claiming that it is an autonomous body, not a National Sports Federation as it does not rely on government funding.
BCCI’s primary concern was the contentious ‘Whereabouts Clause’ with regards to Out of Competition Testing, something that all star India players have been wary of as they considered it an invasion of their privacy.
Asked about the “Whereabouts Clause”, Johri said: “Don’t jump the gun.”
Besides, the BCCI has also agreed to bear the differential cost arising out of high quality testing methods, saying “we want certain level of service for our players”.
“That is OK (bearing the cost), that is not the issue right now. We have said to them that we want a certain level of service for our players. If there is any differential then the BCCI is agree to pay for it,” Johri said.
There are speculations that the Sports Ministry has pressurised the BCCI to come under the ambit of NADA after holding back clearances for South Africa A and women teams upcoming tours of India, but Johri begged to differ.
“These two are separate issues. The tours have already been cleared,” he said.