LODHA PANEL REFORMS: SC BARS BCCI FROM GIVING FUNDS TO STATE ASSOCIATIONS

NEW DELHI (TIP): India’s cricket board cannot release funds to state affiliates until they implement sweeping reforms backed by the Supreme Court, the top court ruled on Friday, a decision that may disrupt the sport at the domestic level.

The top court also ordered the setting up of an independent auditor to scrutinize the accounts of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is accused of flouting suggestions made by the SC-appointed Lodha panel.

“Not a single penny will be given to state associations until they comply with the Lodha panel,” the court said, ordering the board to file a compliance report in two weeks.

The SC asked BCCI chief Anurag thakur to be present before the Lodha panel and comply with the recommendations, and imposed a ceiling on the tender and contracts that BCCI could enter.

The BCCI says it wants to implement the Lodha panel reforms but many of the state associations are opposed to it.

Friday’s order is the latest in the face-off between the judiciary and the world’s richest sports body that has been accused of cherry-picking directives made by the Supreme Court-appointed panel.

However, the fund freeze is unlikely to affect the state units’ functioning immediately as they are believed to have substantial money in their accounts with the BCCI having released huge sums in August. But the ongoing Ranji Trophy tournament could be disrupted if they plead a financial crunch.