The moral crisis in Maha cricket

Sports Reporter
Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Renounced by CoA for non-compliance, MCA seeks funds from BCCI to repay default payments from banks.

Pune:  Maharashtra cricket has had own share of faux pas, and in the latest episode, Riyaz Bagwan, the MCA secretary and the lone office bearer of the maligned association is caught in a no man’s land.
With it’s Stadium facing a ‘sybolic possession seizure’ and the Associations coffers running almost dry, Bagwan stands on a sticky wicket of contradiction.

Seeking money from the BCCI, in order to pay-off loans amounting to Rs 69.53 crore, the MCA and the person in question face ethical scrutiny about their ‘moral right’ to ask for money from the BCCI—with whom the MCA is at indirect loggerheads.

With the MCA committee dissolved, according to the rules, the secretary is the sole office-bearer, and Bagwan’s refusal to amend the MCA constitution.

Earlier this year in April, the Supreme Court-appointed CoA had stalled the MCA elections after it emerged that the state body’s revised constitution was not entirely compliant with Lodha reforms.

One stream of thought, suggested by a former MCA President, who also was on a BCCI nominated legal committee, thinks the MCA has no moral right to seek money from the BCCI as it fails to comply with the BCCI CoA. 

Incidentally, it was the same person, who took the lead to implement the Lodha reforms and was keen to follow the rules and regulations laid down by CoA.

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has accused the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) of falsehood, with regard to the amendment of the state association’s constitution in accordance with the Lodha reforms.

In its April 7 Special General Meeting (SGM), the MCA decided to hold elections on May 2 to implement the new constitution.

In its eighth status report before the Supreme Court, the CoA has contended that the MCA “falsely claimed” to have complied with the Lodha reforms to derive “financial benefits” from the BCCI.

It has requested the court to appoint administrators in the MCA to take charge of the state association, while urging the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the MCA officials.

The MCA Stadium last hosted an international match on October 27 when West Indies defeated India by 43 runs in the third of the five match series, which the hosts eventually won 3-1. 

The picturesque stadium also regularly hosts the domestic matches including Ranji Trophy games.

However, MCA secretary Riyaz Bagwan claimed that the bankers have assured smooth conduct of matches at the ground.

State-run Bank of Maharashtra, which is headquartered in Pune, is the lead bank in the consortium which has loaned the money to the cricket body, while the other lenders include Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank (both state-run) and the private sector bank Karnataka Bank.

As the lead bank, Bank of Maharashtra had asked the MCA to repay its borrowings under provisions of the Sarfaesi Act in August this year.

As the MCA was unable to repay, the underlying security has been ‘symobolically takenover’ by the consortium of lenders, Bank of Maharashtra said in a newspaper advertisement.

The advertisement has been issued by an assistant general manager of the bank’s branch at Deccan Gymkhana in Pune. A six-acre land parcel adjoining the stadium located off the Mumbai-Pune Express Highway has also been “symbolically taken-over.”

Bagwan argued that until the BCCI gives them funds, they wont be able to repay the dues.

“When BCCI releases funds, then only we can make payments. Since last January we have not received any funds from the BCCI. We had six IPL matches (of Chennai Super Kings), so we could sustain cricket and everything, but after that unfortunately we could not pay,” Bagwan said. 

“We need to pay about 17.16 crore immediately to upgrade from NPA status to standard account. We have already raised 4.5 crore through gate money and in-stadia rights for the ODI. I have urged the Supreme

Court-appointed Administrators of the BCCI to help us with the remaining shortfall of about 13 crore,” Bagwan added. He claimed that there has been no response from the CoA despite him writing to them twice about the issue.

“After that I wrote to the Committee of Administrators twice. I met CoA and Saba Karim (BCCI GM). During the (India-West Indies) match, I told Saba Karim that the matter was serious. The CoA asked me to mail them again. But until now we have not received any money,” he added.
“Then in the following week, I again requested Vinod Rai (CoA chairman) to release funds for partial payment to the bank. However, during the last three months, I haven’t received any response from the CoA with regard to releasing of funds,” he concluded.

Curious case of Maharashtra cricket

 According to a possession notice published in a Marathi newspaper, by the Bank of Maharashtra, the bank has taken “symbolic possession” of the  Maharashtra Cricket Association international stadium at Gahunje on November 2. The bank had no choice but to take over the stadium since the MCA has failed  to repay the dues of Rs. 69.53 crore to four banks, including Bank of Maharashtra.

 The notice has also dissuaded the general public from indulging in any transactions with the MCA, waring that all the payments made to the State cricket  association will go to the banks towards settlement of the loan accounts.

MCA-COA tiff
- The Maharashtra Cricket Association secretary Riyaz Bagwan claims that there has been no response from the CoA despite him writing to them twice about the issue.
- He further adds that the MCA has not received any money from the BCCI since the turn of the year, which makes it difficult for MCA to make ends meet.

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