BCCI's status questioned

The BCCI wants to take on the rebel league and punish the players who join it but do they have legal right to do it?

updated: August 23, 2007 14:59 IST
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The BCCI wants to take on the rebel league and punish the players who join it but do they have legal right to do it?

At the heart of the debate is the question of the BCCI's own status. It ostensibly represents India's national cricket team.

But many say it is a private body just like all cricket boards across the world.

Formed in 1929 the BCCI is a private society registered as an association under Tamil Nadu's Society Registration Act of 1860. The players are employees of this association.

And the BCCI is affiliated to the ICC which is also a limited company registered in British Virgin Islands.

The BCCI has repeatedly clarified that it's not accountable to the government since it doesn't need any government funding. But this status can easily be challenged.

The BCCI has on its own admitted that it doesn't have the monopoly to run cricket in India.

In 2005 in its case against Zee Telefilms the BCCI affidavit said ''No monopoly status has been conferred upon it either by statute or government. Any other body could organsie any matches on its own and neither BCCI nor the government could oppose the same. BCCI has no monopoly over sending teams overseas and to control the entire game of cricket in India".

Players threatened

So India's cricket board may not be able to stop a rival but it has already threatened to sack players who join the rival.

''We don't give any importance to any such type of league. Cricketers who are registered with the Indian Cricket Board as well as every state association should not take part in them,'' said Niranjan Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI.

In July 1977 the International Cricket Council had made similar rules to act against Australian tycoon Kerry Packer's rebel cricket league.

It decided to disqualify players from international cricket if they played in any match organised by Kerry Packer's World Series.

In July 1977 England also proposed similar rule in county cricket.

But Justice Slade of England in the English High Court set both rules aside holding them "ultra vires and void and being unreasonable restraint on trade and practice".

So will the BCCI really remain the Board of Control for Cricket in India?

Or will it have to concede ground to the rebel league? And will we finally see two team Team Indias fighting for cricketing glory?