BCCI, IPL and unsatiated greed

BY Darius Nakhoonwala| IN Opinion | 12/02/2014
In all their righteous indignation over the Mudgal Report on IPL, the leader writers forgot to ask the all-important question: if you create a platform that is tailor-made for betting, why blame the cats?
asks DARIUS NAKHOONWALA. PIX: Editorial from The Indian Express
You don’t say!
Darius Nakhoonwala

Suppose you leave some fresh fish in front of a cat and it ate it. Whose fault would it be? Yours or the cat's?

In all their righteous indignation over the Mudgal Report on IPL, the way in which BCCI goes about conducting itself and the IPL, not to mention the many ways in which the team owners and players have been found wanting, the leader writers forgot to ask the all-important question: if you create a platform that is tailor-made for betting, why blame the cats?

As a result some of them sighed despondently while others spewed fire and brimstone. The reader was left with all the old homilies and not a single workable suggestion. Not even Mint, which wrote a thoughtful edit, had any suggestions to offer because, in the end, as far as IPL is concerned, no one cares who wins or loses which makes it perfect for a punt.

The Indian Express railed at the BCCI for the nth time. "The Justice Mukul Mudgal-headed probe panel makes it clear that Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra had a lot more to win and lose than points on the league table… they (have) dealt a crippling blow to the credibility of the league, a violation that should see their sides…scratched off the IPL roster. But then, the BCCI has not been known to scrupulously follow rules."

The Hindu let out a verbose groan. "The insightful report of the Justice Mudgal committee … provides a sound basis as well as an opportunity to address the malaise the game suffers from in terms of business practices that lack transparency, unbridled commercialism that ignores obvious conflicts of interest, and an overall atmosphere conducive to venality." Oh, man, did anyone teach you how to write?

The edit goes on to repeat the indictment of the BCCI, N Srinivasan, Gurunath Meiyappan, Raj Kundra etc. Then, for balance, it has this to say. "Of course …the main report bases its conclusions on police records, and these are not meant to be treated as findings of guilt in respect of criminal offences."

Then for more balance it cites the separate report by the committee's third member, Nilay Dutta, who did not "agree that Mr. Meiyappan could be considered the team's owner, although he was an official under the Operational Rules. Also, he does not want to accept the allegation of betting against Mr. Meiyappan, unless taped conversations relating to this were proved authentic."

Conclusion: "It is clear that the present measures undertaken by the BCCI in combating sporting fraud are insufficient… It is a moment of truth for Indian cricket…" Ya Allah!

The Telegraph somehow managed to write its edit immediately instead of waiting till no one cared. Its opening sentence, however, was breathtakingly ignorant because it forgot that the BCCI cannot be nationalised: "The mess that goes by the name of the Board of Control for Cricket in India makes a perfect case for its nationalization. The Telegraph hates to say this since nationalization or the State ownership of corporate bodies goes against the fundamental principles this newspaper stands for and upholds. But there are situations that demand the State's intervention. The government of India can no longer remain a passive observer. It needs to act to save cricket. The first step in that direction is to take over the BCCI."

The most sensible edit came from Mint which pointed out the structural flaws inherent in both, sports generally and in Indian cricket specifically. Thus, "There are two glaring takeaways from the report by justice Mukul Mudgal-headed probe committee on the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scam. The first is a throwback to the earlier match-fixing scandal that rocked international cricket in 2000 when Delhi police first charged South African captain Hansie Cronje… with fixing South Africa's One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against India… The second and equally worrying conclusion is that despite the enormous amounts of money that has come into the game, particularly in India, the greed of individual players remains unsatiated."

That's what it is: unsatiated greed. You can't make laws against that, can you?

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