‘Don’t say we haven’t done anything. We have done something that’s why you love the game of cricket. BCCI has taken many, many steps in the right directions’ – board secretary Anurag Thakur © AFP
A day after the Supreme Court criticised the BCCI’s method of disbursing funds to state associations, board secretary Anurag Thakur has suggested it would be untenable to treat all state associations alike. He believed “democratisation of sport is not in the interest of sport,” and pushed the idea of state associations earning their dues.
Thakur took questions on the BCCI’s Facebook page, and his statements were in response to one seeking his views on the Lodha Committee’s recommendations. His answer, though, seemed tailored to the criticism of the Supreme Court, which pointed out that bigger associations like Mumbai and Gujarat were allocated sums to the tune of Rs 60 crores whereas 11 other, smaller members were neglected.
“When it is said that why we are not treating all states equally,” Thakur said. “I think democratisation of sports is not in the interest of sport. Look at FIFA. They are struggling today because of this. Even the ICC, which is our parent body, they have Associates and Affiliate members. They treat Full Members separately and deal [with] Affiliate members separately. This is the norm [the] world over. We are not different from others.”
The Lodha Committee had recommended that the categories of Affiliate and Future Members be removed, and only Full Members and Associate Members remain. Thakur, however, took the view that “You have to earn [your dues].
“If you don’t believe in earning your share then I think nobody will work hard. Look at Himachal [Pradesh Cricket Association] – we were not Full Member [with the BCCI] till early 80s. When we [were] made a Full Member, we worked hard, we created stadia and done well. I think that should be done by all the states.”
When asked about the Supreme Court’s observations that the BCCI was operating like a “mutual benefit society”, Thakur replied it wouldn’t be fair to gloss over the board’s contribution to Indian cricket over the years.
“When you are dealing with cricket and you have millions of followers and cricket lovers you get to hear a lot of comments,” he said. “All I want to say is we have put in a lot of hard work to create this board. Without the hard work and efforts of the board’s members and players and the great cricket fans we wouldn’t have achieved what we have achieved today. Why not others try to improve other sports – hockey or maybe other sports? If there are shortcomings, we are ready to improve that. But don’t say we haven’t done anything. We have done something that’s why you love the game of cricket.”
“BCCI has taken many, many steps in the right directions. We are not doing well only in India but we are helping other nations improve as well. We have created wealth for not only the BCCI and cricket but for the players as well. And we are dominating world cricket today. We might have done something right which has brought us to this level.”
Thakur also said the BCCI was focussed on contributing to the enhancement of cricketing infrastructure in the north-eastern region, which he said was an “integral part” of the board.
“I have personally visited states like Manipiur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, and we have seen the infrastructure. They are now going for a tender process to create grounds and better infrastructure. Special funds being allocated to develop the sport in that area. Our experience with certain associations could have been bad but the BCCI is very, very focused under our New Area Development programme to implement those in those regions.”
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo