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BCCI's clean-up plan: A lesson for IPL

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Tariq Engineer A quick look at the BCCI's 12-point plan to clean up the IPL is enough to make it clear that the objective is to cut off a player's...

Tariq Engineer

A quick look at the BCCI's 12-point plan to clean up the IPL is enough to make it clear that the objective is to cut off a player's ability to communicate with anyone from the outside world. The idea seems to be that if the players are insulated and protected, then they won't be exposed to temptation. If they are not exposed to temptation, then the possibility of any of them turning to fixing or gambling is significantly reduced. It is, for the most part, a fairly common sense plan that will make it harder for bookies and the like to communicate with players during the tournament, and makes one wonder why some of these steps were not in place already.

Having a national selector refrain from associating with a franchise seems an obvious step to avoid questions of propriety and conflict of interest, but was clearly not in place when Krishnamachari Srikanth was chairman of selectors as well as a brand ambassador for the Chennai Super Kings.

The same goes for having adequate Anti-Corruption and Security officials working the tournament. The IPL's first two years were bereft of a single ACSU official because the BCCI felt the ICC's fees for their services were too high. That cost-benefit analysis has now been turned on its head. The board knows the IPL can't afford another incident like the arrest of the three Rajasthan Royals players.

Other steps like collecting the telephone numbers of all the players and staff as well as having their contract details are easily achieved objectives that will give the BCCI the information it needs about who is involved in the league and for what reason. The board should have been doing this from the start. Banning cheerleaders altogether however, seems like overkill. Having a handful of girls dancing on a makeshift podium during the game is hardly the cause of the IPL's problems. But projecting what many Indians would consider a cleaner image is not a bad move from a public relations point of view.

On the other hand, banning players from attending after-match parties, while making things harder for the franchises, would control access to the players. That makes more sense. Professional sports teams that have curfews for their players are as old as professional sports, though players have always broken curfew as well. A couple of the steps do seem a bit far-fetched though. The board wants to jam cell phone towers during matches, but it is unclear how it will have the authority to do so. That will not only affect the fans but also those who live around the stadium and would require the approval of telecom companies. Far easier for the players' cell phones to be collected and locked away for the duration of a match.

It is also not clear if the board has the power to demand that players share all their financial details. That would be an invasion of privacy that would likely not stand up in court, should a player wish to challenge such a measure (though it is unlikely any player would). Besides, a player who wanted to hide a transaction or two would do just that � hide it. A player accepting money from a bookie does so off the books.

One step that isn't on the list is for the BCCI to prepare a list of suspected bookies with help from the ACSU and the police and share these with the players. That way the players will know whom to avoid.

The BCCI will never be able to fully eliminate players who are tempted to fix matches or take money for information. Players can meet a bookie outside of an IPL party or during any other time of the year. There is no fool proof plan. But if these measures are actually put in place, the board is at least showing signs that it has learned from its mistakes. And cricket and the IPL will be the better for it.

-Courtesy: Firstpost
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