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BCCI commentators could be barred from writing columns: report

New Delhi: Commentators contracted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), like batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, may soon be asked to stop writing columns should the board adopt Lodha Committee’s recommendations on the conflict-of-interest issues, a report in The Times of India revealed on Monday.

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) met on October 24 and had decided that “the contracts between the BCCI and its commentators should be examined to see if they permitted BCCI commentators to: 1) write sponsored columns for newspapers, and or 2) participate in sponsored awards/ rating programmes,” the report said.

In case of Gavaskar, the batting maestro has already had to pull the shutter down on his player management agency after the BCCI objected to it on grounds of it conflicting with his role as a BCCI-contracted commentator.

Among the list of former India players under contract with BCCI as commentators are also Sanjay Manjrekar and Murali Kartik, apart from cricket expert Harsha Bhogle. 

Gavaskar, Manjrekar and Bhogle all write sponsored columns for newspapers.

“As per the Lodha Committee guidelines on conflict of interest, those employed with the BCCI can’t have another source of income. We’ve become very strict with conflict of interest issues – recently, a physiotherapist with the Indian women’s team had to quit her job because her brother is an official with a state association. The CoA will have a look at their contracts, but the final call on this issue will be taken by a Supreme Court-appointed Ombudsman, as and when he’s appointed by the apex court,” a top BCCI official told TOI.

But this rule won’t apply to Hindi commentators, who are under contract with broadcasters Star Sports and not the Indian cricket board. 

VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag will thus be free to express their views on TV channels or in newspapers.

The TOI report also revealed that the BCCI will now send the conflict-of-interest disclosure forms to the national selectors as well. 

BCCI’s acting president, CK Khanna, could also be under the scanner as he owns the Chand Khanna Cricket Club that is affiliated with the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association.

MV Sridhar, who passed away recently, had to quit his BCCI job as GM Cricket Operations as he too owned cricket clubs in Hyderabad and failed to disclose his income.

Source: Zee News