The Cabinet on Tuesday rejected the Sports Bill which sought to regulate the operations of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and other sports bodies.
Ajay maken’s dream project has fallen through atleast for now – Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah amongst its chief critics. It’s clear that his move to include cricket along with other sports in the Bill and bring it under the Right to Information Act (RTI) was a bit too radical for BCCI heavy weights in the Cabinet.
These men run Indian cricket with an iron fist and atleast for now their fiefdom is secure. The sports minister’s proposals were quite radical and had they gone through, the Indian cricket board would have been directly impacted..
Under the Bill, the BCCI would have come under the Right to Information Act, which means none of its activities could be kept secret any longer.
The board would have had to place its audited account on their website and would have had to present them annunally before Parliament.
The board would have had to ensure that atleast 25 per cent of its officials are former cricketers and that none of its office bearers are over the age of 70.
Not surprisingly, the BCCI opposed the Bill tooth and nail and had strong voices in the Cabinet. Former BCCI chief and ICC President Sharad Pawar, Mumbai Cricket Association chief Vilasrao Deshmukh and Parliamentary Affairs minister Rajiv Shukla.
Maken though makes no bones about his intention to include cricket in the ambit of the Bill. Before the Cabinet meet, he wrote on his twitter page,”How, bringing a Sports Body under RTI tantamounts to controlling it, I fail to understand it? Just an effort to make it accountable to its fans.”
And surprisingly, while his Cabinet colleagues didn’t warm up to the idea, Maken had the support of some prominent former cricketers.
The board will be relieved for the moment that a battle with the government has been averted but the question is if they can avoid more confrontations in the future.