SC allows BCCI Rs 58.66 lakh to spend for Rajkot Test
In a relief to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), a day before test match of India against England, Supreme Court has allowed BCCI to use Rs 58.66 lakh in order to efficiently host the first Test of the series.
The trouble on the test series escalated when the BCCI approached the Supreme Court for intervention earlier in the day with no funds available to pay for the bills of the visiting England team. This came in the light of the BCCI being barred from disbursing funds after being slammed by the SC for non-compliance with the Lodha panel reforms.
A few days earlier, the BCCI reportedly wrote to England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) requesting them to bear the expenses of their team’s ‘travel, hotel accommodation and other arrangements’. In a letter addressed to Phil Neal, the England cricket team manager, BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke explained the board’s legal complications and their inability to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) due to lack of directives from the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee.
However, after the approval of funds, SC has asked the Lodha panel to appoint an auditor at the earliest to examine BCCI’s account amid claims it was unable to host the Test or the series properly in the absence of funds. Thus, SC has empowered Lodha panel to appoint experts to vet all the BCCI contracts in relation to the 2017 cricket season.
The reports further clarify the order, as the court has directed the BCCI to pay the parties directly and no funds will be disbursed to Saurashtra Cricket Association. The funds will be given to the ECB, umpires and insurance companies.
It has also been notified that the relief will continue till December 3 where the board is allowed to use the same arrangement of incurring expenses for the upcoming matches in the India vs England series.
However, in the plea filed earlier, the Amicus and the Lodha panel believed BCCI was in contempt of court for not following the directives handed out. Gopal Sankaranarayanan, the secretary of the Lodha committee, said the BCCI and the state associations have not given any undertakings that they will comply with the recommendations as per the Supreme Court order on October 21.
Interestingly, both teams are already in Rajkot and undergoing the final practices before the first of the five Tests. BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke had raised doubts over hosting of the series despite ECB agreeing to pay for the expenses and the spokesperson suggesting the series was going ahead as planned.