The Committee of Administrators is facing practical problems in implementing the conflict of interest guidelines on the day-to-day operations of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, CoA member Diana Edulji said on Monday. The former India cricketer added that a “white paper” will be prepared detailing the issues.
Edulji and her colleague Lt Gen [Retd] Ravi Thodge spoke with past and present cricketers, including former India captains Dilip Vengsarkar and Sourav Ganguly [via video call], to discuss the problems caused due to the contentious clause incorporated by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice RM Lodha panel.
Stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ganguly and VVS Laxman are all facing alleged conflict issues with notices served by Ethics Officer Justice [Retd] DK Jain.
“All the issues [related to conflict] were discussed – what are the problems being faced by cricketers, what are the problems being faced by us [the administrators] to implement it. It was a vibrant discussion,” Edulji told reporters after the meeting which was also attended by Sanjay Manjrekar, Irfan Pathan, Parthiv Patel, Ajit Agarkar, and Rohan Gavaskar.
Gen Thodge echoed Edulji’s sentiments. “There are some genuine difficulties which our cricketers face. We may not agree to certain things but certain things we have to agree. So, those are the issues that we wanted to gather from them and that was the purpose of this meeting. Cricketers are the ones who are conflicted, so we are addressing their issues,” he said.
A major issue faced by the cricketers is pertaining to dual roles – player-commentator, commentator-IPL franchise staff, commentator-administrator-franchise mentor, BCCI post-IPL franchise employee.
The new BCCI constitution makes it clear that it will be ‘One Person One Post’ and violation of that is deemed conflict of interest.
“Sourav [Ganguly] was also there on Skype putting his views. Good suggestions did come in and we will formulate a white paper and put it to the Amicus [Curiae] who will submit it to the [Supreme] Court,” Edulji said.
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body’s philosophy on the matter. However, Edulji maintained that as of now, the conflict of interest rules need to be followed in letter and spirit.
“But as of now, conflict of interest rules have to be followed because they are enshrined in the constitution and as and when it will be decided by the Court, the amendments will be made,” Edulji told reporters in Mumbai after the meeting.
The former India women’s captain said that the discussions and issues raised will be taken up at the next CoA meeting where chairman Vinod Rai would be present.
“We will sit in our next meeting and discuss all these points. We are trying our level best to see what is best for cricket. We don’t want to hamper anybody but also stay within the rules,” she said.
About Ethics Officers issuing notices to the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman, Edulji said that Jain is merely following the rule book.
“The Ethics Officer sends complaints to us and also we share our view and then he takes the call. As of today, he [the Ethics Officer] is still going to take the call. We have to respect that he is a former judge of the Supreme Court and will go by the law book. It’s true that cricket is having a little problem with these conflict rules but I think once the [white] paper is put properly to the court, it will definitely resolve,” she said.
Edulji refused to reveal the contents of white paper as it is still under process. “I would not like to disclose that [contents] right now as it is a long process. We have our people making the drafts and thereafter we will have the discussions and then present it to the amicus,” she said.
Thodge added: “The decision for the changes we are seeking can be done after the court’s intervention. It is a court-directed thing and we are also court-appointed, so the final decision will be with the Supreme Court.”
Former India pacer Irfan Pathan, who attended the meeting, said players apprised the CoA about the issues they were facing. “It was a long and good discussion. We explained our side,” he said.
Tendulkar, Laxman, Dravid and Harbhajan Singh, however, skipped the meeting.