As per the conflict of interest regulation, the BCCI-contracted commentators could now be forced to part ways with their job as sponsored columnists or TV pundits. This rule, however, won’t be applicable for the Hindi commentators who are contracted to Star Sports and work separately.
According to the minutes of a Committee of Administrators (CoA) meeting that took place on October 24, the committee has decided that "the contracts between the BCCI and its commentators should be examined to see if they permitted BCCI commentators to 1) write sponsored columns for newspapers, and or 2) participate in sponsored awards/rating programmes.”
Hence, if the BCCI adopts the Lodha Committee's recommendations on conflict of interest issues then its contracted commentators like Sunil Gavaskar, Harsha Bhogle, Sanjay Manjrekar, and Murali Kartik, who write sponsored columns for newspapers or are cricket experts on news channels, might be asked to choose between the two.
This could come as a big blow to India’s cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar, who was forced to shut shop on his player management agency a few months back when BCCI ruled that it conflicted with his role as the commentator. Now, his earnings could be further trimmed as he wouldn’t likely be allowed to write sponsored columns or participate in sponsored awards/rating programs.
A top BCCI official told TOI on Sunday, “As per the Lodha Committee guidelines on conflict of interest, those employed with the BCCI can't have another source of income. We've become very strict with conflict of interest issues -- recently, a physiotherapist with the Indian women's team had to quit her job because her brother is an official with a state association.”
“The CoA will have a look at their contracts, but the final call on this issue will be taken by a Supreme Court-appointed ombudsman, as and when he's appointed by the apex court," the source added.
Apart from the commentators, BCCI's acting president CK Khanna could also be in trouble as he owns the Chand Khanna cricket club in Delhi, which is affiliated to the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA).
Interestingly, this rule won’t apply to the Hindi commentators who are contracted to Star Sports that will see the likes of VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag continuing to write sponsored columns (Laxman) and airing their views on private news channels (Sehwag).
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