Injecting a new twist in the BCCI row in the wake of demands for N Srinivasan's resignation, former President Shashank Manohar on Wednesday demanded the suspension of the Indian Premier League till a thorough probe by the CBI is completed.
Manohar, who was succeeded as BCCI president by N Srinivasan, was also critical of the decision to stage a part of the 2014 IPL in the UAE next month, which he says "will further tarnish the already murky waters surrounding the tournament". ('N Srinivasan won't step down as BCCI president')
Manohar's call came just a day after Supreme Court made stinging observations that Srinivasan should step down to ensure a fair investigation to the IPL spot-fixing scandal. "The Supreme Courts observation is that there are very, very serious allegations made in the report and unless the BCCI president steps down, no fair probe can be conducted," Manohar said in a statement. (We will have to abide by Supreme Court's order, says BCCI vice-president Ravi Sawant)
"Considering the latest developments in the BCCI, it is my considered opinion that until the faith of the people in the integrity of the game is restored, the IPL tournament for the year 2014 should be suspended," he said.
"As regards suspending IPL 2014, the board members should remind themselves that money/profits is neither the aim nor the objective of the board. The primary duty is to promote a clean game of cricket," he added.
He said in view of the serious allegations, regarding betting, spot-fixing and match-fixing, the public at large has lost it's faith in IPL games. "I had said long back, when the scandal broke, that all IPL matches should be investigated. Only then can all the erring parties be punished and the clean-up initiated. What has been lately revealed could well be the tip of the iceberg. I feel that a thorough probe needs to be done by CBI as the canvas of the activities extends throughout the country," said Manohar who was the BCCI chief from 2008 to 2011. (Read: Top-10 developments)
"Cricket is the most popular game in India and enjoys a dedicated viewership of millions. This viewership is what generates income and fuels BCCI's clout on an international level. If the faith of the public is not restored, the BCCI would be failing the public which has catapulted it to being the most influential player on the international scene," Manohar said. (Read: Srinivasan can become ICC president even after resignation: BCCI official)
He also voiced concern at the decision of the BCCI to hold the first leg of the IPL in UAE (after the government refused to provide security due to Lok Sabha elections) "in view of certain information regarding rampant betting and match-fixing" in that country.
South Africa and Bangladesh were also considered as possible venues but the BCCI finally decided to hold the first part of the IPL in the UAE. "Many years back, a conscious decision was taken by the BCCI to abstain from matches in the Middle East in view of certain information regarding rampant betting and match-fixing. As far as I know, that decision has not been revoked. Due to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the decision to shift IPL matches to the Middle East will further tarnish the already murky waters surrounding the tournament," he said. (Read: Srinivasan should be shunted out once and for all, says Lalit Modi)