The BCCI has decided to adopt a number of measures in order to tackle age-old domicile fraud in Indian cricket and has introduced Voluntary Disclosure Scheme for players who are already registered. The release also added that players submitting tampered birth certificates will be banned for 2 years.
Taking note of the prevailing age-fraud cases in India, something Rahul Dravid spoke about time and again, that forced the BCCI to change the eligibility of representing the Indian U-19 team, the board has decided to act against it in a clear-cut manner. A couple of years ago, the Pondicherry Cricket team were found guilty of fielding a side with fraud domicile certificate that resulted in the BCCI banning players mid-way of the season.
To ensure the non-repeat of such incidents, the BCCI stated that appropriate checks and protocols are put in place for competitive participation of players in its age-group tournaments. To counter the menace of age and domicile fraud in cricket, BCCI has adopted additional measures which will be applicable to all cricketers participating in the BCCI age-group tournaments, from season 2020-21 onwards:
“As per the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme for players who are already registered, players who voluntarily declare that they have manipulated their date of birth by submitting fake/tampered documents in the past will not be suspended and allowed to participate in the appropriate age group level if they disclose their actual date of birth (DOB). Players have to submit a signed letter/email along with supporting documents to BCCI Age Verification Dept. revealing their actual DOB before 15th September 2020,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah was quoted as saying in a press release.
“However, if registered players do not disclose the facts and are found to have submitted fake/tampered DOB proof documents by BCCI, then they will be banned for 2 years, and after completion of the 2-year suspension, they will not be allowed to participate in age group tournaments of BCCI, as well as, age-group tournaments organized by the State Units.”
The BCCI clearly mentioned that any players who will submit a fake birth certificate or a fake domicile agreement will suffer a two-year suspension but the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme will not be applied for domicile fraud.
“Season 2020-21 onwards, any player submitting a fake/tampered birth certificate will be banned for 2 years from all cricket matches under the aegis of BCCI & State Units. After completion of a two-year suspension, such players will not be allowed to participate in age group tournaments of BCCI, as well as age group tournaments organized by State Units. All Cricketers committing Domicile fraud, including Senior Men & Women, will be banned for 2 years. Voluntary Disclosure Scheme does not apply for cricketers who have committed domicile fraud.”
The BCCI, in no uncertain terms, decided to curb the age for the players to participate in the age-group tournaments, while putting the cap that only players who are between 14-16 years old will be permitted to register in the BCCI Under-16 age-group tournament. For the U-19 players, if a player’s birth is found to be registered more than 2 years after birth, there will be restrictions on the number of years allowed to participate in the BCCI Under-19 tournaments.
“For the BCCI Under-16 age-group tournament, only players who are between 14-16 years old will be permitted to register. In the Under-19 age group, if a player’s birth is found to be registered more than 2 years after birth, as mentioned in the birth certificate, then there will be restrictions on the number of years allowed to participate in the BCCI Under-19 tournaments,” the release added.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, speaking on the same, said, “We are committed to providing a level-playing field across all age groups. The BCCI has been taking steps to counter age fraud and are now introducing even stricter measures from the upcoming domestic season. Those who do not voluntarily disclose their misdemeanour will be punished heavily and will be banned for two years.”
Rahul Dravid, Head Cricket, NCA, added, “Age fraud is a serious matter and is detrimental to the health of the sport. Many youngsters who are supposed to be playing in a particular age group fail to make it owing to age fraud. With the BCCI taking stern actions to curb this, it is only advisable for the players to come forward and abide by the directives issued by the Board.”