हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

CBI reads much more into BCCIs silence

Published: Wednesday, November 1, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on match-fixing and betting has brought into question the role of the members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in the scandal.The 162-page report, made public on Wednesday, said that although there is no concrete evidence to suggest the direct involvement of any of the members of the BCCI in match-fixing, their resolute indifference does give rise to suspicion that there was perhaps more than that meets the eye.The CBI said a player-bookie nexus had thrived in India for nearly a decade, but the BCCI maintained silence or was not aware of the happenings. ''The Board has been negligent in not preventing match-fixing and related malpractices in cricket in spite of clear signals about the malaise. This is mainly due to the fact that, for most office-bearers of BCCI, running the Board is an end in itself and the future of cricket is only incidental.''The agency, at the same time, also felt that creation of a new administrative structure or overriding bureaucratic control on the existing structure will not provide any solution. The solution perhaps lies in making the functioning of BCCI more professional, transparent and accountable to a non-bureaucratic autonomous authority, the bureau suggested.The report said that the BCCI, the single biggest beneficiary of the enormous commercial success of the sport, had as the apex regulatory body not performed its elementary duty to keep a close watch on the performance of the team and thoroughly investigate the slightest suspicion of any malpractice.The BCCI, however, did not care to even investigate allegations, which were bound to have been within their knowledge (for example, the case where there was a serious controversy over a slowdown in the run rate in the Kanpur One-dayer, 1994), the CBI found. It defies credulity to believe that the apex body was oblivious to such rampant match-fixing and therefore did not find the need to investigate thoroughly the results of matches which are patently questionable.The CBI report said appointments of coaches, physiotherapists, selectors are made in an arbitrary manner, names suggested by the members of the BCCI and its affiliate units whose knowledge and insight into cricket is questionable.There is no panel available with BCCI, from which names can be discussed and thereafter ratified on merit. Basically, these appointments are an extension of patronage system to persons who curry favour with the office bearers of BCCI.Although the BCCI on Wednesday is cash rich, it does appear that, over the years, it has undersold Indian cricket with regard to guarantee money among other things. BCCI is in control of huge amounts of public funds without any concomitant rules, regulations or laws governing their utilisation. There is no accountability of any office-bearer of the BCCI, the report said. The structure of the BCCI is such that it is very difficult for any person who has not previously held a post in the Board or affiliate units to get into cricket administration in India. This not only prevents infusion of fresh blood and ideas but also perpetuates a system of self-aggrandisement. CBI noted some of the policies of the BCCI during the past decade, which have directly contributed to match-fixing and related malpractices. They include frequent tours to controversial venues like Sharjah, Singapore and Toronto and thoughtless increase in One-day internationals.CBI inquiry indicated that matches in non-regular venues as Toronto and Singapore may be more prone to fixing or betting as there is carnival like atmosphere of non-seriousness at these venues.India is the only country, which plays regularly in these arenas even at the cost of not touring regular Test playing nations like Australia, West Indies and South Africa, which makes more sense in cricketing terms. Players are more exposed to betting syndicates in non-regular venues and a surfeit of One-Day Internationals result in lower levels of motivation for players who may get a feeling that there is nothing wrong in throwing an occasional match. UNI

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