Wednesday, 28 February, 2007

Team India! Think it again

पूरे देश पर इस समय वर्ल्ड कप का जुनून चढ़ा हुआ है। टीम इंडिया की हौसला-अफजाई लगता है राष्ट्रीय कर्तव्य बन गया है। ऐसे में देश के प्रतिष्ठित अंग्रेजी अखबार इकोनॉमिक टाइम्स की एक पुरानी रिपोर्ट के कुछ अंश पेश कर रहा हूं। गौर फरमाइए....
....The truth is that India does not own Indian cricket. The team full of FMCG models is anything but public property. The players are employees of a private society registered as an association under Tamil Nadu’s Society Registration Act of 1860. This association, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is affiliated to a limited company registered in British Virgin Islands called the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The BCCI is widely regarded as the richest cricket club in the world, though humorously enough, it calls itself a non-profit organisation....
The cricket body is so private and independent that in theory the word "India" in the BCCI could be contested. The government has in the past denied private bodies the right to use words like "Indian" and "National".
It is not certain if a day would come when the BCCI would have to shed the word "India". Generations have been misled into believing that Indians own Indian cricket.
The board’s unquestionable autonomy is best expressed by its (ex) chief Jagmohan Dalmiya who have said "The BCCI is not answerable to the government of India or any other authority. It is a registered society. It is a private body with its own constitution."
The wealth of the BCCI, that has attracted non-cricketing elements (such as politicians), could also become its nemesis one day. Senior lawyer YP Trivedi says: "The government has taken over private charities, and temple trusts when a lot of money has been involved and the auditing has not be satisfactory." There is no hard evidence of the BCCI passing on its affluence to cricket lovers. The last time a one-day match was held in Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium, thousands stood in line from eight in the evening outside the ticket counter which opened at eight the next morning, sold about 5,000 tickets and shut the window. More than 80% of the 45,000 seats were reserved for politicians, officials and sponsors. With very few toilets in the stadium, many had to hold their bladders for several hours despite the handicap of being men. In fact the cheaper stands showed that many didn’t hold their bladders. Watching cricket in India is a misery that the BCCI’s immense wealth has been unable to resolve but it has certainly made cricket a very rich game in a country where all other sports languish in poverty.

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