Ending its long-running standoff with the government over authority over the dope-testing regime of its cricketers, BCCI has finally agreed to come under the aegis of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
The move comes in the light of the recently failed doping test of the cricketer Prithvi Shaw which raised serious questions about the competence of BCCI’s anti-doping procedures.
This will be a significant policy change for a sports body that identifies itself more as a Private entity than a national sports federation (NSF), which is not wrong considering it isn’t dependent on government funds. The move is also significant since the organisation, for years, has adamantly opposed any degree of government interference into its operations.
The decision comes in the wake of BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and general manager (cricket operations) Saba Karim’s meeting with sports secretary Radheshyam Julaniya and NADA director general Navin Agarwal in New Delhi on Friday.
According to the Times of India, BCCI was led to softening its stance, having faced the heat from the sports ministry.
Even though it may be a small move, it may be a symbolic step in bringing the BCCI under the Right to Information (RTI) Act besides deeming it as a National Sports Federation (NSF). Board officials, understandably, dismissed such suggestions, citing the regulations of world body ICC upon the issue of increased government interference.
“The BCCI can’t be deemed an NSF as it doesn’t take government grants. As for RTI, it will be looked into separately since the new BCCI constitution approved by the SC has some different pointers,” an official said. However, a principal BCCI official told TOI that the move was inevitable.
“ICC has been trying to globalise cricket. And in its strategy report last year, it had marked the over-reliance on BCCI as one of its weaknesses. The 2022 CWG and India’s participation becomes crucial in this context. Not complying to NADA would have been a stumbling block both for BCCI and the ICC,” said the source.
Rijiju welcomes the move
Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju termed the development as a significant positive event.
“I don’t want any issues or matter to remain unresolved. All the differences must be resolved amicably because I believe in clean and transparent governance in Sports in the interest of the sports and sportspersons,” Rijiju told PTI.