Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is expected to step in to resolve the issue of a ban on superstar Shah Rukh Khan from entering Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. Sources say the BCCI is unhappy with the decision of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) to bar the actor, who also owns the IPL team the Kolkata Knight Riders, from the stadium for five years.
The sources say the board is working the back channels now to resolve the issue. It reportedly holds that the ban is not in order as IPL franchises pay for use of stadia and cricket grounds. The MCA has banned Shah Rukh from entering Wankhede even as a spectator and the association, which administers the stadium, says it is well within its right to do so. But Rajiv Shukla, who is chairman of the IPL, has said while the MCA can propose a ban, the BCCI will make a final call.
Shah Rukh Khan, who himself is dismissive about the ban, has found political support in the last two days that he has been battling the MCA over a Wednesday evening scuffle at the Wankhade stadium after a KKR-Mumbai Indian match. Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister, has said she will appeal that the decision to ban him be reconsidered.
"We love everybody, from Shah Rukh to Sachin to Sourav...But Shah Rukh is our brand ambassador…I don't want to interfere in any other state's business, I don't want what I am saying distorted, this is a sensitive matter. I will appeal, please reconsider the decision," Ms Banerjee said.
Other politicians batted for Shah Rukh too. Like Lalu Prasad who said the ban on the actor was all wrong and suggested that the IPL be wound up. Fellow IPL team owner and MP Vijaya Mallya said, "SRK is passionate about his team and about children...IPL has no role to play here. It is strictly between the MCA and affected person regarding the entry into Wankhede Stadium." The National Conference's Farooq Abdullah said Shah Rukh was an icon and so must be calmer.
Early today, the head of the MCA, Vilasrao Deshmukh, announced the association's decision to ban Shah Rukh. He said after his fight at the stadium on Wednesday night, the actor had "shown no regrets for his action and behaviour...in fact, he justified his actions of manhandling security guards and abusing MCA officials." Mr Deshmukh said that the MCA considered a life ban but then unanimously decided that they would ban him from the stadium for five years to send out a message.
A police complaint has been registered against the actor for voluntarily causing hurt and for criminal intimidation - because this is a non-cognizable offence, SRK as he is known cannot be arrested. The police will study all the statements made so far by everyone involved in the incident, including eyewitnesses, to chalk out the exact sequence of events and then will corroborate it with CCTV footage from stadium. The MCA reportedly reviewed the footage before announcing its decision today.