The Indian Premier League took off in 2008 and has enthralled cricket fans all over the world ever since. The mixture of Cricket, Bollywood and entertainment had to sell and has sold, unlike anything else the world has ever seen.
The recipe was too intoxicating for some to handle and it hit its tipping point in 2013 when the Delhi Police arrested 3 cricketers who represented the Rajasthan Royals franchise, namely, S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila in an alleged spot-fixing case.
Around the same time, the Mumbai Police arrested Vindu Dara Singh and Gurunath Meiyappan (son-in-law of Chennai Super Kings owner N Srinivasan) for having links with bookies and alleged betting on IPL games.
This was a big blow to the reputation of what was becoming one of the most lucrative leagues around the world in professional sport. Something had to be done.
And so it was. The Supreme Court appointed a committee under Mukul Mudgal (A Delhi High Court judge) to examine claims of irregularities in the BCCI and the IPL.
The Committee delivered their verdict in November 2014, condemning IPL Coo Sundar Raman, Gurunath Meiyappan, Team Principal of CSK and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra for betting on cricket. Further, they also implicated N Srinivasan (BCCI President and ICC Chairman at various points and CSK owner) of not acting against the accused despite knowing of their violations.
A mere two months later, in January 2015, the Supreme Court constituted a committee under former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha to recommend reforms for cricket in India and determine punishments for those accused by the Mudgal Committee.
The Committee would be known as the Lodha Committee
In the past 20 months, the Lodha Committee and the BCCI have engaged in a tug-of-war with each party not willing to give up an inch.
The former laid down guidelines that will have wide-ranging implications on the board after a detailed 12 months study.
The BCCI, led by Anurag Thakur has remained steadfast in its functioning, incorporating a few of the changes, while expressing their reservations over some of the other suggested changes.
A detailed timeline of everything that has transpired since the committee’s inception is below
Latest update –
Jan 2, 2017 – Supreme Court sacks Anurag Thakur, Supreme Court
After a year of dilly-dallying, the SC finally struck with a monumental decision to sack BCCI Chief Anurag Thakur and secretary Anurag Thakur after the BCCI failed to adapt a whole number of the recommendations put forward by the Lodha Committee. Despite several warnings by the court, the BCCI failed to adhear to the recommendations and it evenutally cost them their job.
January 2015 - Lodha Committee comprising of three members appointed
The committee had 3 primary objectives -
To determine punishments for Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra along with their respective franchises, CSK and the Rajasthan Royals
To examine the role of IPL COO, Sundar Raman in 2013’s spot-fixing scandal and impose a suitable punishment on him on behalf of BCCI
Most importantly, to suggest amendments to the processes followed by BCCI with a view to improving the functioning of the Indian board and suggest changes to its constitution.
April 14, 2015: Lodha Committee sends across questionnaire to BCCI
The Committee sent a list of 82 questions, divided into 8 sections to comprehensively understand how the BCCI functions.
The sections included: How the BCCI and its stakeholders’ function, transparency in the IPL, how the board forms various committees, conflict of interest issues and players’ welfare.
Jan 4, 2016: Lodha Committee presents its recommendations
After a thorough study of the BCCI’s functioning, the committee presented its recommendations to the apex board.
Key takeaways -
One-state-one-vote policy to be incorporated
Ministers and bureaucrats to be made ineligible to hold positions on the board
Age limit of 70 years to be set for all members
Maximum of 3 terms of 9 years across the 5 positions on the board
One cannot serve two consecutive terms - ‘cooling-off’ period required
BCCI Working Committee (Highest decision-making body) to be replaced by 9-member Apex Council
Appointment of 3 independent officials - An ombudsman, an ethics officer and an election officer
Setting up of a players’ association
Jan 7, 2016: BCCI acknowledges Lodha recommendations
Anurag Thakur (Then BCCI Secretary) writes an e-mail to all state associations to study the Lodha recommendations, understand its implications and to submit their individual reports to the BCCI by the end of the month.
Feb 4, 2016: Supreme Court attempts to speed up the process
With the state associations dilly-dallying on their individual assessment of the recommendations, the Supreme Court tells the BCCI to make its stance on the recommendations clear, one way or another.
Further, the SC said if the bodies had any trouble implementing the reforms, the Lodha Committee would do it themselves.
March 3rd was set as the deadline day for the BCCI to respond.
March 2, 2016: The BCCI list out their reservations
The BCCI responded to the Supreme Court one day prior to the deadline about the Lodha Committee recommendations. The body pointed out that it had implemented a few of the reforms, but also had an issue with a few of the changes.
Reforms implemented -
The board appointed an ombudsman.
System put in place to counter conflict of interest issues.
Started the process to appoint a new CEO, CFO and other top management positions.
Recommendations it does not agree with -
The tenure of holding an office position (3 terms of 9 years in total).
Age limit of being an office-bearer.
Restrictions on advertisements during ODIs and Tests.
The one-state-one-vote policy.
April 5, 2016: SC brings up the fund- disbursement issue
Having studied the audited accounts of the BCCI and state associations over the past 5 years, the SC states that BCCI’s method of funds disbursement to state association is done without any system in place.
While associations like Mumbai and Gujarat received up to Rs. 60 crores, 11 states had not received a penny in the 5 years.
The next hearing was set for the 8th of April.
April 29, 2016: SC remains resolute on age-limit issue
The SC cited the example of Jagmohan Dalmiya, who at the age of 75, was elected BCCI President, despite not being able to communicate properly to demonstrate why an age limit is essential.
The Court further attacked the BCCI, displaying an aggression that had been growing for the past couple of months. It was evident with statements like, “These days, even in politics people are retiring.”
They rebuffed claims of both the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and Odisha Cricket Association on the age issue.
May 3, 2016: SC makes its strongest statement yet
The Supreme Court insists that the BCCI was incapable of ensuring transparency and accountability without incorporating changes to its very structure, detailed in the constitution.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam added that the BCCI would gain from incorporating the Lodha Committee recommendations as it would only enhance the body’s credibility.
June 30, 2016: SC sets date for judgement on BCCI’s implementation of recommendations
The two-judge bench reserved its judgement on BCCI’s response to the recommendations and decided to serve a written judgement by the 21st of July.
KK Venugopal, representing the BCCI, said during the final hearing, that the BCCI would be more than happy to implement all of the recommendations barring ‘six or seven’.
Some of the key contentious issues are as below -
Advertisements during Tests and ODIs.
Ministers and bureaucrats being part of the BCCI.
The one-state-one-vote policy.
The 70 year age limit for holding office.
July 18, 2016: BCCI given 6-month timeframe to implement reforms
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of a majority of the committee’s recommendations and the BCCI were given a 6-month deadline to incorporate the changes.
The Lodha Committee would oversee the transition and help to implement the reforms.
There were 3 recommendations that the SC did not uphold -
Restrictions on advertisements during the matches.
Bringing BCCI under the Right to Information Act.
Matters regarding legalising betting in the country.
August 09, 2016: Lodha Committee issues first set of deadlines
After BCCI’s secretary Ajay Shirke met with the Lodha Committee, the latter issued its first set of deadlines to be met by the BCCI.
By September 30th
Adopting the amended BCCI Memorandum of Association, and Rules and Regulations.
Establishing 15-day gap between day between the national calendar and the IPL.
Deciding on fund disbursements among members.
By October 15th
Appointment of electoral officers at BCCI and state levels.
August 16, 2016: BCCI files petition in Supreme Court
Nearly a month after the SC accepted most of the Lodha Committee’s recommendations, the BCCI hit the Supreme Court hard in its latest move.
The board seeks a review of the Supreme Court Order and also demanded the recusal of Chief Justice of India, JS Thakur.
The BCCI had finally made its move.
September 1, 2016: Lodha Committee issues further deadlines for the BCCI
After a meeting in Delhi, the Committee finalised the second set of deadlines for the BCCI.
Nov 15 - State bodies have to wrap up their elections.
Dec 15 - Hold elections for the Apex Council, which will replace the existing Working Committee as the highest decision-making body in the BCCI.
Dec 30 - Form a fresh IPL Governing Council.
The BCCI had earlier announced that it would conduct its Annual General Meeting on the 21st of September and these new deadlines firmly ensured that the BCCI would focus on the recommendations.
September 11, 2016: BCCI differs from Lodha Committee on national selectors guidelines
The BCCI announced that it would be conducting interviews to decide the selectors for the various junior and senior men’s and women’s teams.
While the Committee insisted that one must have played at least one Test match to be eligible for the post of senior men’s or women’s selector, BCCI decided to ignore the guideline and set their own.
BCCI’s guidelines read, “He/She should have represented the Indian team either in a Test match or a one-day international or more than 50 first-class matches in India.”
September 21, 2016: BCCI doesn’t pay heed to Lodha Committee’s warnings
The Lodha Committee informed the BCCI that in their AGM, they must only conduct business considering the past year (15 - 16) and any business pertaining to the next year (16 - 17) must be dealt with only after implementing the Committee’s guidelines.
However, the BCCI remained firm on its agenda which included -
Electing a new secretary for the board.
Picking members of the selection committee.
Choosing a new ombudsman.
Approving the budget for the next calendar year.
The Lodha Committee clearly expressed to the board that unless the new Memorandum of Association and Rules was drafted, any such appointments would be considered contempt of court.
October 1: BCCI continues to ignore few key recommendations
The BCCI missed the first deadline day given by the Lodha Committee as it could not come to any conclusions on the SGM conducted on the 30th of the September.
Reconvening the very next day, the BCCI agreed to implement several key recommendations but continued to ignore a few key pressing points.
Among those were -
The 70 year age limit for office bearers.
The tenure in office (3 terms of 9 years).
The One-state-one-vote policy.
October 3: Lodha freezes BCCI accounts
The Lodha Committee asked two Indian banks not to disburse BCCI funds to various state associations on account of not following the guidelines prescribed.
The funds had arrived from the broadcasters who had provided compensation for the cancellation of the Champions League T20.
The funds were to be disbursed to all full members of the BCCI - barring the Rajasthan Cricket Association.
October 4: Lodha clarifies stance amidst chaos
Chaos ensued as media reports claimed that after the BCCI’s accounts were frozen, the rest of the ongoing India - New Zealand series would be cancelled.
The New Zealand team received no official confirmation from the board about this.
The Committee then later clarified their stance, stating it had only told the banks to stop two specific payments to state associations, and not freeze their accounts completely as was largely publicised.
The BCCI made a meal out of the issue, claiming it was insulting for the Committee to treat a sports body with such disrepute. After the clarification, the series was back on track.