5:22 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

BCCI just cares about the cash, says Qaiser Mohammad Ali

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For many years, no September has perhaps been looked forward to within the BCCI with as much eagerness, anticipation, hope, expectation and excitement as the next one. It is that month when the annual general body meeting of the Board takes place and state associations indulge in hard bargaining with it.

There is a lot at stake for many individuals as well as the state associations that constitute the Board, with money being the sole talking point. This is so because a windfall is expected for the BCCI next year, once the ICC media and commercial rights are allotted to a new entity.

And, as it has been proved time and again in all walks of life that wherever there is a lot of money to be had, there is bound to be trickery, if not corruption per se. The more popular adage is power corrupts, but in the case of Indian cricket, it could be ‘money corrupts’.

With the BCCI AGM now just a little over a month away, there’s a lot of activity happening behind the scenes as part of ‘preparations’. And, needless to say, money is the main talking point, as cricket seems to have taken a back seat – the performance of the Indian team in England is an example.

State associations are anticipating a larger share of the pie than previous years and would probably seek more in September next year by which time the ICC media and commercial rights would have been allotted.

Even now, money is the talking point. The state associations’ hope of getting more and more money emanates from the estimate that the ICC bigwigs have drawn from the sale of the media and commercial rights for 2015-2023. They have calculated – post ICC restructuring – that the next winning bid would beat the previous record of $1.1 billion, the price that ESPN-STAR Sports combine paid to the ICC for 2007-2015 cycle, by a distance.

The state associations’ hope of becoming richer rose because N. Srinivasan, now chairman of the ICC and believed to be the brains behind the restructuring of the world governing body, is confident that under him the ICC would be able to get the real worth of ICC tournaments/events. This he made amply clear in an affiestidavit he submitted with the Supreme Court in the 2013 betting-fixing case a couple of months ago while requesting to be allowed to resume his BCCI duties.

“BCCI now stands to receive 21.6 per cent of the top line of the media rights and sponsorship income of ICC for ICC events between 2015-2023,” he said in the affidavit. “Further, it has been agreed that even in the subsequent cycle, 2023-31, BCCI cannot get anything lower. This would translate, in my estimate, to additional revenue of upwards of Rs.3,000 crore for an eight year cycle.” Now, with those kind of figures being floated around, which association would not want to get as much money as possible as its share from the BCCI. And who would like to antagonise the people in power in the Board at present and ruin their relationship. These high revenue projections have, as of now, virtually demolished any opposition, if it existed at all within the Board.

It is estimated that there won’t be any opposition at the AGM next month, as the numbers simply don’t add up to challenge the present set-up. There’s a move to convince Sharad Pawar and Jagmohan Dalmiya to forget the past, join hands and put up a strong candidate at least for the president’s chair. The last hope of the so-called opposition is the Supreme Court, which is expected to pronounce a judgement in the 2013 IPL fixing case next month, based on a report that Mukul Mudgal Probe Committee would be submitting.

Dhyan Chand‘s son fed up of Bharat Ratna politics

Former India hockey captain Ashok Kumar is so tired and disgusted of all the talk of his father and hockey wizard Dhyan Chand’s name being mentioned as one of the probable candidates for the Bharat Ratna, that he doesn’t want to take up the issue like in the past.

Having tried his level best highlighting the contribution of Dhyan Chand to the Indian and world hockey, Ashok Kumar has now left it to the wisdom of the NDA government to weigh Dhyan Chand’s contribution to Indian sports, hockey in particular.

“If they feel that Dhyan Chand was a tall personality who did something for the country, they can honour him. If they don’t think so, that’s their outlook. You can chase an issue only to an extent; after that you have to consider self respect,” Ashok Kumar told MAIL TODAY, clearly more out of disgust than from his heart.

“People are only indulging in regionalism; no one is thinking about the nation as a whole,” he said referring to the various new names that have cropped up from various regions of the country. “Those who decide the winner of the Bharat Ratna need to think deeply before finalising a name.” He further added that politicising the Bharat Ratna is diminishing the prestige associated with the highest civilian honour of India.

Whoever the government finally chooses and announces on August 14, the die-hard admirers of Dhyan Chand continue to remember the legend from Jhansi, especially on his birth anniversary.

The Delhi-based Nehru Hockey Society, for instance, is organising an inter-school tournament in the memory of Dhyan Chand from August 24, and it’ll culminate with the final on August 29, the birthday of the magician.

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