Lodha Report: Easy to Suggest, Impossible to Implement?

What are the roadblocks in the way of the Lodha Committee recommendations actually being implemented by the BCCI.

4 min read

Will the recommendations from the Justice Lodha Committee just find their way into a bin or will the Supreme Court actually force the BCCI to implement the changes? (Photo: PTI)

Former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha made a lot of Indian cricket fans very happy today when in an hour-long press conference he ticked off each and every box, as far as the need for changes in the BCCI is concerned.

However, implementing the changes is easier said than done.

The entire capsule has now been passed on to the BCCI who will wait for the Supreme Court’s diktat on the way forward. Though a deeper look at the recommendations and it is clear that they are great in theory, but difficult to implement.

No Entry for Politicians?

The one suggestion that stands out the most is the ones barring a Minister or Government servant from holding a position in the BCCI. Now, this is a stage where not just cricket, every Indian sport should be able to reach some day.

But the fact is without active support of a politician, no sporting body in India can survive because there will be harassment at every regulatory body. Take Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium for example, the restructuring of the badly constructed complex would not have taken place in time for the 2011 World Cup final without Sharad Pawar at the helm of affairs. There are other issues that small associations face which can be steamrolled with politicians in charge.

The Lodha panel could have gone the whole distance and barred all politicians from holding positions in any cricket body. But the fact that they did not do underscores the reality of the situation. Even the age criteria for officials is a bar not high enough.

Members of Parliament, Anurag Thakur (L) and Rajeev Shukla (R) hold prominent posts in the BCCI at the moment. (Photo: PTI)
Members of Parliament, Anurag Thakur (L) and Rajeev Shukla (R) hold prominent posts in the BCCI at the moment. (Photo: PTI)

Terminate the Term

The Lodha panel, in fact, have gone a step further by giving each BCCI official three separate terms, which is in fact over and above what the current constitution has. The fact is the current set-up came into being to satisfy one man, N Srinivasan. Before Srinivasan BCCI office-bearers had just one term. He turned everything around to suit his end. The Lodha panel failed to undo this wrong!

The concept of only one association per state is again unworkable because a state like Maharashtra is a massive area. There are many talented players in the vast pool. One state association will lead to allegations of selection bias and create more administrative hurdles. To undo a system that has survived for more than 75 years will require a lot of will, which sadly no one in the current system has.

Lodha Report: Easy to Suggest, Impossible to Implement?

Why so Many Watchdogs?

Lodha panel’s recommendations sounds like best case scenarios, but they are practically not possible to be implemented. The presence of a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s office is an unnecessary addition. When there are various checks and balances in place with the presence of a newly appointed ombudsman, there is absolutely no neeed for any other person. An ethics officer too will only prove superfluous to the whole set-up.

The BCCI fought tooth and nail in making the International Cricket Council (ICC) an indepdenent body when a Lord Woolf panel suggested similar sweeping changes. The BCCI successfully binned the Woolf recommendations. It will hardly be a surprise if they bin the Justice Lodha panel suggestions too.

There are a number of points in the report which the BCCI will have an issue with and that is with regards to the restructuring the state associations. The BCCI officials over the years have managed to survive for more than 75 years purely on the basis of gratifying their loyalists. The Lodha panel has struck down this system of give and take.

Will the BCCI President Shashank Manohar be open to the suggestions? (Photo: ANI)
Will the BCCI President Shashank Manohar be open to the suggestions? (Photo: ANI)

Changes Too Many May Not Be Acceptable

It is after all a cosy club so the presence of a full-time CEO, de-linked IPL and above all a players’ association will be difficult for the BCCI officialdom to digest. These are precisely the issues that the BCCI has been pushing back on over the years and it has come back to haunt them..

While the world has moved into the 21st century model of sports management, BCCI and most sports bodies in India are stuck in the 19th century. The Lodha panel, therefore, will never be accepted by the BCCI regime.

One Man’s Stubbornness

They will cherry pick the recommendations for implementing and refer the rest to a committee of experts, which is Greek and Latin for inaction.

Therefore, let’s not get carried away by the nature of the recommendations, because they are not wholly binding on the BCCI. If anything the entire Board regime will be cursing one man for his obstinacy leading them to this situation.

Find out how will the recommendations given by the Lodha panel affect the BCCI: If Approved, Here’s How Lodha Report Could Impact The BCCI Bosses

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