Sweeping changes in BCCI?

BCCI (File)
BCCI (File)

New Delhi - A panel appointed by India's Supreme Court on Monday proposed sweeping changes to the country's scandal-hit cricket board and said gambling should be made legal.

The panel headed by former chief justice Rajendra Mal Lodha was appointed after a string of corruption scandals at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Its report recommends barring politicians from the sport's governing body and introducing time limits on holding office.

It also suggests legalising betting after the popular Twenty20 tournament run by the BCCI, the Indian Premier League (IPL), was rocked by allegations of corruption, match-fixing and crooked umpires.

"As far as betting alone is concerned... it would serve both the game and economy if it were legalised," the report suggests, with several riders.

Lodha's panel was formed in January last year to recommend changes after the top court found two IPL franchise owners guilty of betting on the outcome of matches in 2013.

In July it suspended the Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) teams, triggering the ousting of former BCCI chief Narayanaswami Srinivasan. He was found guilty of a conflict of interest for being at the helm of Indian Cements which owns CSK.

The recommendations would bar ministers and government officials as well as anyone over 70 from holding office and would impose a three-year maximum term.

The panel also suggests a separate executive body for the IPL and the appointment of an independent ombudsman and ethics officer to address conflicts of interest.

The BCCI generates huge revenues due to its vast television audiences and enjoys a pre-eminent position in world cricket.

It effectively runs the International Cricket Council with its allies Australia and England.

The top court will now rule on whether the recommendations should be legally binding.

Former lawyer Shashank Manohar took charge of the BCCI in October, vowing a new era of clean governance.

The cricket body has usually been run by politicians or industrialists with conflicting interests.

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