N. Srinivasan under pressure from players' association to give up ICC role
In the wake of the Indian Premier League fixing and betting scandal, the Supreme Court has already pulled down N. Srinivasan from his position as BCCI president. Now the Federation of International Cricketers' Association wants Srinivasan should stand aside from all International Cricket Council functions.
The Federation of International Cricketers' Association on Friday called on the International Cricket Council Board to direct N. Srinivasan to stand aside from all ICC functions. Last Friday, the Supreme Court suspended Srinivasan as Board of Control for Cricket in India president till the match-fixing and betting scam related to Indian Premier League was resolved. Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, a team official of Chennai Super Kings, has been indicted for betting and sharing team information. The next hearing of the case is on April 16. (Full schedule)
Srinivasan is set to take over as ICC's first chairman in July. He will be in a leadership role in a revamped ICC that will also see England and Australia occupying important positions in cricket's governing body. FICA is the first association to oppose Srinivasan's appointment in the wake of the Supreme Court's interim order. The ICC has not taken an official stand so far and left it to the BCCI make a decision.
FICA Executive Chairman Paul Marsh on Friday said in a statement it was imperative that the ICC Board acted strongly in response to the situation involving Srinivasan. "Serious allegations of betting and spot fixing in IPL 2013 have been made against Gurunath Meiyappan as the alleged Team Principal of Chennai Super Kings and these remain the subject of proceedings before the Indian Supreme Court.
"Srinivasan is the Managing Director of Indian Cements Limited (the owner of the Chennai Super Kings) and is also the father-in-law of Meiyappan. The Supreme Court order from last Friday noted that Srinivasan had made a written offer through his legal counsel to step aside from his functions as BCCI president until investigations into the allegations against him were completed.
"The Supreme Court has issued an interim order prohibiting any employees of India Cements Limited (other than players or commentators) from performing any duties for the BCCI. FICA understands that the order applies to Srinivasan, as Managing Director of the company."
Marsh called on the ICC Board to take note of the Supreme Court's recent orders and apply the same principles to ICC activities.
"While we are pleased that Srinivasan, at the behest of the Supreme Court, has agreed to step down from his duties as BCCI president, we are of the firm belief that he should not be exercising any functions on behalf of the ICC either, while any investigations concerning his conduct or that of his company are pending or unresolved," he said.
The ICC has not made its position clear so far. Considering BCCI's massive clout over other Full members, ICC has been rather diplomatic and adopting a wait-and-watch policy. A senior ICC functionary told NDTV.com: "It's for the BCCI to decide whether Srinivasan should represent India at ICC. It's BCCI's internal matter. So far, nothing has been discussed officially by the ICC Board."
There have been conflicting reports on Srinivasan representing BCCI at ICC. While Board secretary Sanjay Patel has been quoted by the media saying that there was no legal barrier in Srinivasan attending ICC meetings, several legal luminaries, including BCCI former legal head Usha Nath Banerjee, told NDTV.com: "The court has not given any relief to Srinivasan to attend ICC meetings. I believe there was a prayer made on his behalf, but the court did not say anything. The ICC position has been given to the Indian Board, not any individual," clarified Banerjee.
On Tuesday, the Rajasthan Cricket Association representative in the BCCI, Mehmood Abdi too shared Banerjee's views. Abdi is a noted lawyer and represents former IPL chairman Lalit Modi.
"In view of this clear direction of the honourable apex court, Srinivasan cannot represent BCCI at the ICC since he being an India Cements employee is barred by the Supreme Court order to be associated with any assignment of duties by the BCCI," said Abdi.
"This clarification on part of the interim president of the BCCI is imperative since an impression is being created in a section of media that Srinivasan's role as the BCCI's representative in the ICC is still intact," Abdi added.
The pressure on Srinivasan is only mounting. The April 16 Supreme Court hearing may see more clarity on another fuzzy issue connected with Indian cricket administration.