Lodha effect: BCCI still ‘confused’ over payments issue

New Delhi: In the wake of Lodha Committee report, BCCI brass on Wednesday said the cricket board is still “confused” over the kind of payments that can be made from the two bank accounts which had come under the scanner of the Supreme Court-appointed panel.

Sources in BCCI said the cricket board is awaiting the judgement of the Supreme Court on Thursday on the issue to get clarity on the subject, which is crucial for continuance of the ongoing series with New Zealand.

Amid the logjam, BCCI president Anurag Thakur on Wednesday wrote a letter to the state associations, saying “confusion” prevails over payments that the board can make even after Justice (retd) Lodha had asked the banks to defreeze the accounts in the two banks — Yes Bank and Bank of Maharashtra.

“When the reports came in the media, the Lodha Committee clarified on 4.10.16 (yesterday) that bank accounts should be defreezed. The committee said only routine payments were to be permitted without specifying any guidelines on this. The banks asked the commission for these guidelines but they have not yet been given,” Thakur wrote.

“There is thus still a lot of confusion on what payments can be cleared and in fact the Committee has stated that no payments are to be made to state associations and has also directed state associations not to deal with funds transferred by the BCCI.

“Unfortunately, this also affected the image of India and the BCCI adversely as various international newspapers have also carried articles of the freezing and de-freezing of bank accounts of the BCCI,” he added.

The Lodha panel, however, had told banks to not disburse funds from the BCCI accounts to state associations with regards to only two specific payments, and later clarified that it can carry on with its routine expenses.

In another e-mail, the panel also warned the state units not to touch the recent funds disbursed by the BCCI between September 29 and October 1.

When contacted to get clarity with regard to the ongoing series, Thakur told PTI, “BCCI does not own any ground. It is the state associations who host matches. If the state associations can host the matches, they must do so.”

At the same time, he said there will be difficulty in hosting matches if any state association does not have adequate funds.

Sources in the BCCI said there is a lot of ambiguity over the payments issue as a result of which the cricket board is in the “limbo”.

The BCCI is also unhappy over the observation by the Lodha committee that IPL is an “extravaganza”, with a member saying it gives opportunity to youngsters to display talent.

Thakur, in his letter, goes on to write that Lodha Committee did a flip flop over its bank accounts status.

“Another flip flop is that the Committee states that no payment other than cricket matters is to be made. Payments to state associations are also for cricket matters. There is no explanation or clarity by the Committee for this,” he said.

The BCCI will respond to Lodha panel’s status report filed before the Supreme Court on Thursday. In the report, the panel asked for the removal of the board’s entire top brass for violating its recommendations in the SGM held in September 30.