New BCCI administrators boot out officials appointed by Anurag Thakur, Shirke

If sacking Anurag Thakur as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president was the first shot by Supreme Court at the richest cricket body, then its Committee of Administrators (COA) has now decided to remove the staff appointed by the ex-president and ex-secretary Ajay Shirke in their offices.

“The staff attached with the erstwhile BCCI President and Hon. Secretary’s office to be relieved,” read the minutes of a COA meeting, dated February 1, a copy of which is with HT.

The minutes added that no more staff can be hired by the current regime of the BCCI, without approval of the COA – which was appointed by the Supreme Court and is being led by former CAG Vinod Rai. Even in case of Indian Premier League (IPL), CEO Rahul Johri can only appoint staff on a temporary basis.

”No further Staff to be appointed by BCCI without the approval of COA. However for IPL 2017 related activities the CEO can appoint contract staff for a period not exceeding 4 months,” it stated.

Also the BCCI office in New Delhi, from where Thakur, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party MP, used to operate has been closed. “The COA will appoint a caretaker for the BCCI Office in Delhi,” the minutes further stated.

Indian cricket team’s media manager Nishant Arora also resigned on Sunday. He was close to Thakur, who, according to many, was responsible for his appointment in the Indian team. Arora operated from Thakur’s Delhi office.

The Supreme Court, last month, had appointed a four-member panel to administer BCCI - led by Vinod Rai, former Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Former Indian women’s team captain Diana Edulji, historian Ramachandra Guha and Vikram Limaye, Managing Director of Infrastructure Developement Finance Company, are the other members of the panel.

With the 2017 IPL auction (February 20) and main tournament (April-May) nearing, the COA has decided to give CEO Johri the administration right regarding the ‘functioning’ of BCCI. He will directly report to the COA.

“The COA hereby empowers the CEO to administer the functioning of BCCI including IPL and to report to the COA in the interim period till such clarity from Supreme Court is obtained,” it was concluded in the meeting.

“In the interim period as mentioned above, CEO is authorized to grant all such approvals and the Hon. Jt. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer will continue to be the signatories for operating the bank accounts.”

Pressure from ICC

The BCCI has been pushed to the wall by the International Cricket Council too. In a recent meeting, the richest cricket body in the world was outvoted by other members on ICC’s draft proposal on revenue share and governance. BCCI had opposed the new revenue model and governance structure.

When N Srinivasan was ICC chairman in 2014, he had formed a ‘Big Three’ along with England and Australia. It gave BCCI the lion’s share of ICC’s profits. But the Shashank Manohar-led ICC is adamant in changing that model now.

Manohar, who was the BCCI president before Thakur, had also indirectly targeted the former regime in his column on the ICC website.

“India is a vitally important member of the ICC, and contrary to some reports, I believe a strong BCCI based on solid governance foundations is good for cricket. India is a nation that others look up to and it can play such an important role in the opportunity we have with other full members to grow the global game. The ICC will continue to work closely with the BCCI administration and provide any support necessary,” he said.

“Change is not always easy to champion nor is it easy to digest, but we must think of the global game when taking decisions and only then will history judge us kindly.”