ACT NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
By I. S. Bindra / June 26, 2013
"The International Cricket Council (ICC) will have no objection to ' stepped aside' BCCI President, N Srinivasan taking part in the ICC's Annual Conference as Director or any other capacity " an ICC spokesperson from London told Mumbai daily Mid-Day, a couple of days back.
ICC spokesperson may still not have any objection to the stepped-aside President attending the annual conference but millions of cricket enthusiasts in India and across the globe have strong reservations about his participation in any deliberations until he is cleared by the competent authority and allowed to step back by the board.
In your capacity as the Board of Directors , it is not only an obligation but a sacrosanct responsibility to administer the application and implementation of the Ethics Code . As you will no doubt be aware, the ICC Code of Ethics sets out a number of rules that govern the conduct of Mr Srinivasan as an ICC Director. Those rules, promulgated as a response to Lord Condon’s Report on Corruption in International Cricket, contain a number of obligations imposed on ICC Directors to ensure that the reputation of the ICC is enhanced and to foster public confidence in the ICC’s governance and administration of the sport of cricket worldwide.
Among the various rules, the following obligations of ICC Directors are relevant :
Clause 2.1 – Directors shall act in an ethical manner and shall not engage in conduct that gives the appearance of impropriety; and
Clause 4.1 – Directors shall not use their position with the ICC for personal advantage or gain, including having any material and direct personal involvement with ICC broadcasters, such as acceptance of material payments from such broadcasters
I write to you as a former Principal Advisor to the ICC (2008-12), a former President of the BCCI (1993-1996), the current chairman of the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) and above all a very passionate cricket enthusiast interested in the well-being of our great game of cricket.
You would agree, with great remorse, that Cricket, once a gentleman’s game has now become a businessman’s game. It's no longer played by the book but by the bookies. Previously the most despised three letter word used to be “tax’. Now its replaced by “bet” or worse still “fix”. Unfortunately at the middle of this ugly crease is one of your high profile Board members against whom much is said and written but very little done. Its time then that somebody stands up, musters the courage and put the love of the game above everything else and present a complaint , against the current President of the BCCI , Mr. N Srinivasan.
The recent revelations of match fixing and betting (which in fact is illegal in India ) in the IPL ,charges for which have been levied upon Gurunath Meiayappan the son in law of Mr. Srinivasan, leading to his arrest has left the cricketing world stumped . What followed was a public outrage represented in media outpourings which led to the President side stepping ( a clever and disguised variant of the word resigning ). Whatever be the technicalities , the fact of the matter is that , India , which houses the world’s largest cricket loving population has rejected his leadership . In fact , Mr. Srinivasan’s son has gone on record to state suspicious dealings of not only his brother-in-law but also his father with Dubai-based businessmen. (Please see media report in Daily News & Analysis dated 24.05.2013)
The Indian media had also prominently reported that ICC had given a warning about the company that Mr Meiayappan was keeping. Such warnings went unheeded because Mr. N Srinivasan was at the helm of affairs in the BCCI .
In view of the facts regarding match fixing and illegal betting there was a strong demand that an independent probe should take place within BCCI. But Mr. Srinivasan managed to handpick the enquiry panel contrary to BCCI Rules and Regulations. One member of the committee, the Secretary of the BCCI, Mr Sanjay Jagdale quit in disgust. In this regard media also carried various articles . (Please see media report in Times of India dated 31.5.2013)
Yet, there are firm reports that he would be, without any moral authority, representing the BCCI, in the crucial meetings of the F&CA committee meeting in London or later elsewhere to decide who would bag the media rights of the ICC for the next eight years. This is wrong and strongly objectionable given that the nature of this meeting has huge financial implications and thereby exposed to exploitation and corruption, the very root of the charges levied against Mr. Srinivasan’s family member. I must mention here that Star, the current official broadcast partner is also through one of its channels a sponsor of none other than Chennai Super Kings, the IPL team owned by a company controlled by Mr. Srinivasan. Given the recent revelations, to argue that this is mere coincidence, would in cricketing parlance be, a silly point . As a matter of fact , I have not heard of any declaration being made by Mr. Srinivasan regarding his involvement with the Chennai Super Kings and this must surely contravene Clause 4.1 of the ICC Code of Ethics. His close family association with Mr Meiayappan must expose him to contravening Clause 7 of the Code.
The story doesn't end here, quite like Mr. Srinivasan’s misdeeds. You will remember how , when nine out of ten captains had voted in favour of Tim May to be the player’s representative in the ICC , Mr. Srinivasan had arm twisted the decision to favour, former Indian Test player, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, who happens to be employed at India Cements Ltd , a company which Mr Srinivasan controls . I have it on good authority that his modus operandi was a veiled threat to the captains who were present in India during the just concluded IPL-6. Media has also extensively reported that when the matter was being referred to the Ethics Officer, the ICC was bull dozed into submission by another threat that India shall withdraw from the CTT 2013. Such behavior cannot be in compliance with a director's fiduciary duty as set out in Clause 3.1 of the Code.
You will also remember in India - Sri Lanka series played in Sri Lanka in 2010, a popular Indian Test player was reported by the Sri Lankan board as being seen taking a suspicious lady to his room for the night. Mr. Srinivasan bullied the Sri Lankan Board into hushing up the matter and withdrawing the complaint. I believe this incident was also brought to the notice of ACU. No surprise that the player is one of the stars of Chennai Super Kings. Such behavior should be investigated as contravening clause 2.1 of the Code.
It is appalling that Mr. Srinivasan can even attempt to smear the good name of the past ICC CEO, Mr Haroon Lorgat . I am told that he has made several untrue allegations which you have now investigated and dismissed. But this is not surprising to me as this is exactly how Mr. Srinivasan works against people who dare to challenge him. That in itself should be investigated by you as unethical and unbecoming of a director . This must be a violation of clauses 1.3 and 2.1 of the Code.
I am also hopeful that there are enough men of standing on the ICC Board that will summarily dismiss the allegations against Haroon. They should simply not stand for such non-sense against a gentleman who has served the ICC and the game of Cricket with distinction and, indeed, still has more to offer.
Furthermore, Mr Srinivasan then seeks to blackmail Cricket South Africa by pressurizing them not to appoint Mr Lorgat as their CEO. It is well known that he met with the CSA leadership and threatened to curtail or withdraw the India tour of South Africa at the end of this year. This is clearly unethical behaviour and again seriously violates the ICC Code of Conduct not least clauses 1.3, 2.1 and 3.2. This sort of behaviour is not foreign to Mr Srinvasan as there are more examples like his constant blackmailing of his fellow directors to avoid implementation of the Decision Review System (DRS).
Cricket is a game which is worshipped in India making it the country’s only secular God . Its one religion that unites the diversity of India, a country which has single handedly brought immense popularity , growth and wealth to this great game. If India , through its public, has rejected Mr . Srinivasan’s presence in the BCCI, there is no reason why the ICC should acknowledge his position . In fact, it should not allow him to attend any meeting held now and in the future. For a start , I urge you to hold an enquiry into all points raised above and disallow Mr. Srinivasan from attending any meeting of the ICC till such time you reach a conclusion. I am aware that this request of mine is well within your rights and as per the ICC Code of Ethics ,needs to be investigated.
It gives me great pain to write this letter, especially because the person who is at the centre of the controversy happens to be heading the same board of which I have been a member for the last 38 years and served as its President . However I have always believed that the game is greater than any individual and the truth must come to light.
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