New Delhi: Welcoming the Lodha committee`s stand on freezing the bank accounts of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sports activist and lawyer Rahul Mehra on Tuesday insisted that the officials of the country`s cricket body are there only for the money in the game and that they only understand the language of money.
"I welcome the firm stand taken by Lodha committee as far as the freezing of accounts of the BCCI are concerned. This is a body which is completely opaque. It is just not accountable to anybody.
And this is for the first time that the honourable Supreme Court, led by the honourable Chief Justice of India, is reigning in an organisation which has become like a Frankenstein. It is not possible for any other body or organisation to regulate such an opaque body. Therefore, the only thing that the BCCI understand is the language of money. Because BCCI officials are not for the love of the game, but they are there for the love of the money in the game," Mehra told in an exclusive interview to ANI.
Mehra insisted that the BCCI are not falling in line with the apex court`s directives to implement the Lodha Committee`s recommendations, which will have a long-term impact on the vague governance of this sport. (READ: Annoyed BCCI to cancel India-New Zealand series following Lodha's call to freeze bank accounts - Report)
"These people are not just falling in line as far as honourable Supreme Court of India`s judgment is concerned in bringing various reforms in the BCCI, which are going to have a long-term impact on the vague governance of the sport. In future, I think it is important what Lodha commission has suggested, should be followed," he said.
The sports lawyer emphasized that the BCCI should not be allowed to play their national cards before adding that Lodha committee should remain firm on their stand to bring long-term meaningful reforms in the sport of cricket.
"The BCCI will now undoubtedly play the national cards now. Because that is the last card they play always. They will try and pitch the court against game. They will try to pitch the reforms against the well being.
They don`t not care about India. They do not care about anybody else. All they care about is money. But, they will play their national card. So, we should be firm, strong and affirmative and not let that national card in the short-term come in the way of the long-term meaningful reforms that are needed in the BCCI," he added.
Earlier, there were reports that the BCCI had been contemplating to call off the ongoing series between India and New Zealand as their banks have decided to freeze their accounts.However, Justice (Retired) R.M Lodha told ANI that his panel did not ask the banks to block BCCI`s accounts while clarifying that the banks had only been directed to restrain the disbursement of large funds by the country`s cricket board to the state associations.
Justice Lodha further insisted that routine expenses for matches, games, cricketing activity and another administrative matter were not put on hold.
"There is no question of cancellation of any game or series. The directive which we shoot to the BCCI yesterday in our email is confined to disbursement of large funds to the state associations and banks have been directed to compliance of that, nothing beyond that. Routine expenses for matches, games, cricketing activity, another administrative matter are not at all restrained. There is absolutely no prohibition. There is no constraint. The accounts of BCCI have not been frozen. Rather I would say this is misinterpretation of the email about something which it doesn`t say," Justice Lodha had said.Last week, the Justice Lodha Committee had submitted its status report with the Supreme Court, accusing the BCCI of defying the apex court`s orders and stalling its proposed reforms.In its report, the Supreme Court- appointed panel stated that the BCCI was not implementing its recommendations aimed at reforming the country`s cricket governing body.
The move came after the BCCI appointed a five-member selection committee during its Annual General Meeting on September 21, which was in violation to the Lodha panel`s guidelines.Tearing into the BCCI for ignoring the directions of the Lodha panel, the apex court had directed the cricket governing body to respond to the panel`s report before October 6.
In its October 1 Special General Meeting, the BCCI had accepted many of the "significant recommendations" of the Lodha Committee, however, it excluded the important ones which have been bone of contention between the cricket body and the Lodha Panel.
The recommendations, which have still not been accepted by the 30-member committee, ---one-state one-vote, age limit of 70 years, cooling-off period of three years which included the tenure of the administrators, continue with the five-selectors and keeping to retaining the powers of the president and secretary as per the earlier constitution of the board are the other recommendations.