Freezing accounts serious threat to our autonomy: Thakur
Concerns over the continuation of the ongoing New Zealand series given were somewhat calmed after the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha committee clarified that it had only asked the banks not disburse large amounts of money to the state associations, not freeze the Board of Control for Cricket’s (BCCI) bank accounts, as it was being assumed.
Justice RM Lodha reiterated that his e-mails were misinterpreted by the Indian board, saying, “We have not frozen any of the accounts … routine expenses for matches, cricket activities and administrative matters are not restrained.”
Although the committee foresaw no hindrance caused to the running of the series, Anurag Thakur, the BCCI chief, maintained on Tuesday (October 4), that a final call on the rest of the New Zealand series will be taken on Wednesday after gaining some clarity. “We need some clarity first,” Thakur was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. “We need to know where we can spend our money and where we cannot. If we are stopped from paying state associations for hosting matches then cricket can’t go on. We need clarity and better communication from the Lodha committee on this,” he said.
“The BCCI doesn’t take money from the government. It is very disappointing that our accounts were frozen. This is a serious threat to our autonomy,” Thakur said. “I am not even sure whether the Lodha committee is actually empowered to freeze our accounts. And if the Lodha committee has not stopped money being paid to the state associations, then we need to find out under whose orders the banks stopped payments.”
Thakur also added that it was disappointing to have the board being questioned for raising player salaries given their impressive performances across formats. India regained the number one ranking after completing a crushing 178-run win in the second Test against New Zealand at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
“On one hand, our Test team climbs to the number one spot in rankings while on the other hand if we try to increase the fees of the players from 7 lakh to 15 lakh then such things become questionable. The BCCI has done exemplary work in the last few years. Our domestic tournaments are the biggest in the world. Our U-19 team is also doing well.
“When we talk about allotting money to state associations to arrange matches then they restrain us from doing so. Now it is up to the state associations whether they will be able to conduct matches or not. The members are pained at the treatment meted out to them,” he said, before adding: “There is too much interference at the moment.”
The board chief also added that freezing of funds could be under the purview of government interference, which the International Cricket Council should take note of, given that cricket, too, like other sports, has provisions to suspend affiliated units for the same.