In a rude shock to the Board of Cricket Control Board of India, the Supreme Court has virtually frozen the accounts of the wealthy Board, putting an end to the unilateral handling by a handful of people who were mostly politicians. The board will have to open up its accounts to an independent auditor that will also oversee the award of contracts and rights worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the Supreme Court ordered on Friday.
The Board was also asked not to give funds to its state affiliates till it implemented root-and-branch reforms recommended by a panel appointed by the top court.
“Not a single penny will be given to state associations until they comply with the Lodha panel,” the court said, ordering the board to file a compliance report in two weeks.
Both directives might impact domestic cricket.
For one, the BCCI is set to award lucrative media rights to its domestic league, the Indian Premier League (IPL), for 10 years early next year. Squeezing of funds to state units could also hamper competitions.
The SC asked BCCI chief Anurag thakur to be present before the Lodha panel and comply with the recommendations, and imposed a ceiling on the tender and contracts that BCCI could enter.
The BCCI, which has been accused of flouting suggestions made by the SC-appointed Lodha panel, says it wants to implement the Lodha reforms but many of the state associations are opposed to it.
Friday’s order is the latest in the face-off between the judiciary and the world’s richest sports body that has been accused of cherry-picking directives made by the Supreme Court-appointed panel.
However, the fund freeze is unlikely to affect the state units’ functioning immediately as they are believed to have substantial money in their accounts with the BCCI having released huge sums in August. But the ongoing Ranji Trophy tournament could be disrupted if they plead a financial crunch.