BCCI finally clears players’ central contract payments

New Delhi, Jun 22:

The central contracts of the Indian cricketers were finally cleared by the BCCI at the Special General Meeting (SGM) here today, ending a period of uncertainty ahead of their long tour of the UK.

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) had announced the revised players’ contracts on March 7 but BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary had refused to sign them saying it needed the General Body’s approval which came through in the meeting attended by representatives of 28 state associations.

Notably, today’s SGM did not have the required go ahead from the COA.

“Despite doubts, the SGM has taken place. All resolutions have been passed by the General Body unanimously,” said Choudhary.

One thing for certain is that players will finally be paid ahead of the UK tour, for which they leave tonight.

As per the revised contracts, the players in the A+ category will get Rs 7 crore, while ones in the A, B and C will get Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore respectively.

The General Body also approved the proposed increase in the salary of domestic cricketers, including women.

On the upcoming domestic season, it was decided that new teams including the north eastern states and Bihar will be playing against each other in the plate division.

The top two teams from plate division will then face the bottom two sides across group A, B and C and the best two will advance to the elite division in the following season.

Recently, the COA had cleared Uttarakhand’s participation in the upcoming Ranji Trophy alongside Bihar and north eastern states but that did not get the nod of the General Body.

“Irrespective of any meeting, Uttarakhand will play in the Ranji trophy this season. The Supreme Court wanted us to look into the matter and we have only done that by creating a consensus committee in the state for a period of one year,” COA chief Vinod Rai told PTI in response to the Board’s decision.

Another resolution passed was to resume the functioning of the various BCCI committees which have been inactive due to the administrative crisis in the Board.

“All decisions taken by the General Body are subject to the honourable Supreme Court’s approval,” said Choudhary.

Asked about the worsening relations between the COA and the BCCI officials, Choudhary said: “The dynamics between the elected BCCI officials and COA are governed only by laws. There is no role for emotions here. We will continue to work under COA’s supervision.”

The acting secretary has been constantly hauled up by the COA for his foreign travel. His recent trip to Bhutan attracted a showcause notice from the COA but he defended going there.

“It was three months ago a Bhutan delegation had visited BCCI headquarters and appealed for our support in promoting cricket in the country.

“That is why they wanted us to visit. We finally were able to go there on day two of the India-Afghanistan Test with AGM cricket operations and a regional curator,” said Choudhary.

Among other notable developments, representative from Puducherry was not allowed to attend the meeting despite the association having the Board’s associate membership.

The appointment of new anti-corruption unit chief Ajit Singh was passed by the house and it was decided that Neeraj Kumar will continue until the position is filled.

However, COA chief Rai dismissed the development.

“Mr. Ajit Singh joined the BCCI on April 1 and worked the entire IPL. Where is the question of keeping his appointment on hold? A due process was followed before he came on board,” said Rai.

Among many other issues, the BCCI officer-bearers think the ACU chief was appointed without consulting them.

On the validity of the SGM, Rai added: “They are free to hold meetings whenever they want to. As far as the players’ central contracts are concerned, we would have cleared it anyway if they did not do so today. The players’ interests have to be protected at all times.”

The meeting also saw Aditya Verma apologising to the General Body for filing the original petition in the IPL spot-fixing scam. PTI