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MCA accepts SC verdict in toto, Sharad Pawar to quit president’s post

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Mumbai: Mumbai Cricket Association president Sharad Pawar will quit his position in six months’ time after the state body accepted the Supreme Court verdict on sweeping reforms in the BCCI and its affiliates in toto.

In a press conference after the Managing Committee meeting here today, the 75-year-old Maharashtra strongman, who has been both ICC and BCCI chief, said he accepted the Supreme Court’s verdict, which puts an age cap of 70 years for cricket administrators.

However, he added that the MCA will take six months to implement the apex court’s orders, which effectively means he will not retire immediately.

“I respect the judiciary and will be happy and contended to retire from cricket administration. As you know during my time in the BCCI (as its president) and MCA, several things have been accomplished in support of cricket,” Pawar said.

The MCA chief said the state association will now set into motion the process to redraw its constitution to align with the judgement.

“We discussed the Lodha Committee recommendations and the Supreme Court judgement and unanimously approved all recommendations given by the Supreme Court,” he said.

“Now we will first redraw the constitution, get the draft approved by the managing committee before calling a Special General Meeting to get the amended constitution passed. We have six months’ time,” the seasoned politician said.

Pawar, who is on his way out as per the judgement, as he has completed the age cap of 70 years and the term cap of nine years cumulatively set as an office-bearer, said that on only one issue – one state, one vote – the MCA needed to get clarification from the BCCI.

“We accept the one state, one vote decision. But we are three associations belonging to Maharashtra state – Mumbai CA, Maharashtra CA and Vidarbha CA. As per the judgement we have to take turns to be represented in the BCCI.

“When Mumbai gets a chance to be represented, our jurisdiction will extend all over Maharashtra and not confined only to Mumbai and its surrounding areas like Navi Mumbai and Thane as is the case now. We will then have to include players from the rest of Maharashtra in our teams (to be fielded in Ranji Trophy and other tournaments),” the NCP chief said.

“When Maharashtra gets its chance they can include Mumbai players. We need clarification on this point from the BCCI which can then seek the same from the Justice Lodha Committee,” Pawar said.

Conceding that he has become ineligible to continue his association with cricket administration on two counts – age and cumulative term period – he said lightheartedly that he welcomed the arbitration panel of the Supreme Court in which there are some members who were past 70 years of age.

“Supreme Court has taken a decision and I respect that (about age cap on cricket administrators). In the Arbitration Panel of the Supreme Court there are judges who are above 70 years of age. I am happy that their vast experience and knowledge is available to the Supreme Court,” he quipped.

Pawar said several members of the present MCA managing committee will be affected by the judgement.

“Almost all will be affected, expect him (joint secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar sitting by his side),” he said.

Asked specifically whether MCA would find it difficult to fill in the void as most of its managing committee members are ineligible to continue in administration, Pawar said Mumbai had enough efficient people to take over the mantle.

“I don’t think BCCI too will find it difficult to implement the judgement. I am only worried about ICC whose constitution clearly says that there should be no government representative in cricket bodies,” he said, referring to the clause in the recommendations for a CAG representative to be part of apex council in BCCI and its affiliates henceforth.

“But BCCI already has Services, Universities and Railways as its members. I don’t think Mr Shashank Manohar (ICC chairman) will take objection (to CAG representative’s presence),” he quipped in a lighter vein.

Speaking about his achievements as a cricket administrator, Pawar said, “When I was BCCI President the pension scheme for players and umpires was started. We started the medical scheme for players too. During my time, the BCCI headquarters was constructed where we are sitting now – the Cricket Centre also housing the IPL and MCA.”

“A lot of new stadiums were built all over after we raised the BCCI subsidy towards it to Rs 50 crore. We started the IPL that benefits several cricketers. In Mumbai, we have built top class facilities at the BKC ground and Kandivli complex with indoor nets. I will be retiring as a happy person,” the politician said.

PTI

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