India’s top court slammed the country’s powerful cricket board on Wednesday for failing to comply with stipulated reforms following corruption scandals, saying its officials were “behaving like lords”.
The Supreme Court instructed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to “fall in line” with a retired judge’s proposals for sweeping changes to the cash-rich organisation’s structure and way of working.
Former chief justice Rajendra Mal Lodha and his panel told the court that the BCCI’s heads should be replaced as they were dragging their heels on the reforms, adding that a string of emails to officials had gone unanswered.
The BCCI, one of the most powerful organisations in world sport, has insisted it is not “running away” from implementing the reforms after scandals including accusations of corruption and match-fixing in the glitzy Indian Premier League (IPL).
The court in New Delhi ordered the BCCI to comply with the recommendations, adding that the organisation was not above the law, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
“If the BCCI thinks that they are a law unto themselves, then they are wrong. They have to comply with the directions of the court,” said the bench of judges headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur.
“You (BCCI) are behaving like lords. Fall in line otherwise we will make you fall in line.”
The Lodha panel, appointed by the Supreme Court, proposed changes to the BCCI in January to be introduced within six months.
The reforms, most of which the court accepted, include new operating and governance rules that bar ministers and bureaucrats from holding BCCI posts, along with age and tenure restrictions for top officials.
The Lodha panel was frustrated by the BCCI’s decision to go ahead with making new appointments at its annual general meeting this month. The panel had warned against the move because the reforms had not yet been introduced, the court heard.
The panel last year announced two teams were being suspended from the IPL after top officials were caught illegally betting on matches involving their own teams in the T20 competition.