India Today - - COVER STORY -

“When you talk about the Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia, the most im­por­tant thing is to un­der­stand that the key­word is not cricket, it is con­trol. BCCI ex­ists not for the play­ers, not for the sport, it ex­ists for it­self,” says a se­nior board of­fi­cial. “It is an ed­i­fice built on power, ar­ro­gance, money, and the in­se­cu­rity that comes with the fear of los­ing all of those things.”

Now a cor­po­rate colos­sus with an an­nual sur­plus of Rs 385 crore and to­tal as­sets worth Rs 3,308 crore, BCCI is a study in con­trast. On the one hand, it runs a mod­ern sport with all the para­pher­na­lia that comes with it— su­per­star play­ers, TV rights, spon­sor­ships, mer­chan­dise, me­dia at­ten­tion, lo­gos and a gi­gan­tic fan base. On the other hand, it fol­lows a me­dieval gov­er­nance model of hon­orary mem­bers, elected from a two- tier sys­tem in which they are voted in by state as­so­ci­a­tions, with­out any pro­fes­sional man­agers.

Un­like other sports bod­ies around the world, or any com­pany, BCCI nei­ther has a cor­po­rate struc­ture nor fol­lows the laws of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance. “It is a crony- cap­i­tal­is­tic monar­chy be­ing run in the garb of a democ­racy. A one­man show where the king is felled by a usurper ev­ery few years, but the sys­tem doesn’t change,” says a player agent who has been deal­ing with the board for more than a decade.

Un­til as re­cently as 2006, the board func­tioned from the house of who­ever

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