The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has sought the Supreme Court’s immediate interference to ensure both the fourth Test between India and Australia and the IPL are not disrupted by disgruntled state associations. In its second status report, submitted in the court last week, the CoA singled out the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), which will host the fourth Test in Dharamsala later this week, for “intransigence”. The CoA also had stern words for the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), which wanted more funds to host IPL matches despite having “substantial” reserves, reports ESPNCricinfo.
“The Committee of Administrators believes that there is an urgent need to issue appropriate directions to ensure the smooth conduct of the fourth Test match between India and Australia by the HPCA as well as the smooth conduct of IPL matches by the state/member associations,” the CoA said in the status report, which was prepared on March 17.
The court is likely to hear the matter on Friday, a day before the Test match starts in Dharamsala, where the two teams arrived on Monday. The HPCA, the CoA said, had asked the BCCI to release funds to host the Tests despite not having adhered to the twin orders delivered by the court last October. Through two separate orders in October, the court had made it clear to the BCCI “cease and desist” from disbursing funds to the states associations until they had submitted a written resolution saying they would adopt the Lodha Committee recommendations.
The HPCA, the CoA said, had enough in its reserves to conduct the Test without any issue. According to the CoA, the HPCA had about INR 6.27 crore as savings on March 31, 2016. An amount of approximately INR 59.44 crore was transferred by the BCCI to the HPCA account between April and October last year. This was not including the INR 16 crore that each state association received from the BCCI towards the cancellation of the Champions League T20.
The CoA was also wary of the threat posed by some the 10 state associations set to host the IPL, which starts in two weeks’ time. The tournament opener between defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore – the 2016 finalists – is scheduled in Hyderabad on April 5. Incidentally the Hyderabad Cricket Association is under duress after its groundstaff went on an indefinite strike last week for the non-payment of their salaries.
The CoA told the court that the SCA had written to the BCCI “more than once” asking for funds to be released to address various payments including the “conduct” of the IPL. Rajkot, where the SCA is based, is the home base for Gujarat Lions, who will play five matches there. In its letter, the SCA had asked the BCCI to release INR 30 lakh per match, an amount which every venue that hosts IPL receives from the BCCI. This sum is separate to a similar amount the venue gets from the host franchise a day before each of the matches.
Again, as in the case of HPCA, the SCA, too, had a substantial amount in its reserves as per its audited accounts from last March. According to the CoA, the SCA in addition to bank savings has the sum of INR 42. 66 crores it received from the BCCI between April and October last year.
Even as it waits for the court to issue further directives, the CoA authorised BCCI CEO Rahul Johri to address the SCA and the other IPL host associations, telling them that the fee payable to the states associations will be transferred as per the contract: 14 days after the tournament ends. Johri also reminded all 10 state associations that payment will be made pending their compliance with the court orders.
In its status report, the CoA said it had “noted with regret” the replies of the state associations. “Instead of upfront compliance with what was primarily a request for information/status update on the implementation of the reforms, they have unfortunately used the pendency of various applications as an excuse to avoid necessary compliance,” it said.
The CoA told the court that the state associations had themselves to blame for not receiving the BCCI funds. “The Committee of Administrators understands that adequate funds are necessary in order to ensure that cricketing activity continues smoothly. However, it is the intransigence of state/member association to comply with this Hon’ble Court’s order dated October 7, 2016 and October 21, 2016 that has resulted in the consequential inability of BCCI to release funds to them.
“It appears that the stand taken by these state/member association is part of a well thought out strategy of refusing to comply with the orders even at the cost of letting players, employees, etc. suffer, and cricketing activity be adversely affected, which is unfortunate.”
In its first status report, submitted on March 5, the CoA had told the court that the state associations had not complied with even one of the steps that had to be implemented to meet the timelines set by the Lodha Committee.