BCCI linked commercially with states units:Govt

New Delhi: The government has said there exists a "commercial linkage" between BCCI and its state affiliates, contrary to claims made by the cricket body before the Central Information Commission that it had no relationship with state associations. In a statement dated January 9, 2012, before the transparency panel, the Sports Ministry said Board of Control for Cricket in India allots various events to state units and as per present practice, the revenue from host broadcasting rights and title sponsorships are taken by the national-level federation.

"As such there is commercial linkage of BCCI (being a national-level organisation and allocating events to state units) and its state affiliates," the ministry said. It said the arguments put forth by BCCI during the hearing before CIC "does not hold good" that it has no relationship with its state affiliates and in case the state affiliates get some concessions or direct or indirect subsidy from a government, that does not come to BCCI.

The CIC is considering whether the BCCI is answerable under the Right to Information Act, while the appellants Subhash Agrawal and Ashok Varshney contend that it receives indirect funding from government. BCCI says it gets no funding from the government and hence does not come under the transparency law.

"BCCI gets an event from ICC, then it keeps certain rights with itself which has the commercial value and then allots the event to a state unit. The state unit gets concessions/direct/indirect/subsidy from state government and holds events on commercial basis. As such by holding the event by a state unit, BCCI also gets revenue. Accordingly, concessions/direct/indirect/subsidy received by a state unit is also subsidy to BCCI," the statement said.

Earlier, in a seven-page written statement dated December 16, 2011 submitted before the CIC, the Sports Ministry had said although there is no direct funding of the BCCI, it gets "substantial indirect funding" from the government in the form of revenue forego like "concessions in income tax, customs duty etc" and lands at concessional rates for stadiums.

The ministry said BCCI is performing the functions "akin" to state and "public duties" by selecting national teams and representing India in international events. Citing the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, it had said, "Since the name Board of Control for Cricket in India suggest patronage of the government, the BCCI may have to drop the name `India` from its name in case they continue to act as `private body`."

"In the view of the above, the present position of the Government of India in this regard is that there exists just and reasonable grounds for the BCCI to be declared as a `public authority` under the Right to Information Act, 2005," it said. Information Commissioner M L Sharma had directed the Sports Ministry to "submit a written statement indicating its position as to whether BCCI is a public authority in terms of section 2(h) of the RTI Act."