Abolishing voting rights of international players: MCA refers matter to legal panel

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has decided to form a legal committee to look into matters related to the proposed constitutional changes.

Friday’s special general body meeting (SGM) discussed this matter – including abolishing the voting rights of international cricketers, allowing individuals above 70 to hold posts, and making the Apex Council act through the secretary instead of the CEO (chief executive officer).

The meeting lasted more than two hours and decided to refer the matter to a legal panel. MCA president Vijay Patil said that he strongly advocated retention of voting rights for international cricketers as they have contributed enormously to the game and the association.

“They (international players) deserve all the respect and to be treated with dignity. As a cricket association, we need to uphold these values. A majority of our members shared the same sentiment and I have urged the concerned members who moved the resolution for withdrawal of voting rights to players to withdraw the same in the interest of cricket. All matters about constitutional changes have now been referred to a constitution committee,” Patil told The Indian Express after the meeting.

Each state association under the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had to amend its constitution to adhere to the Supreme Court order on the Lodha Committee’s recommendations. The panel gave voting rights to all former international players in their respective associations, barred any individual from holding a post after reaching 70 years of age, and in an attempt to make administration more professional, gave more powers to the respective CEOs to run the BCCI and state associations.

Interestingly, on the day the matter of voting rights was discussed, only a few former international players turned up for the meeting. Among those present was former Test cricketer Pravin Amre.

Earlier, in a notice about the proposed changes sent to all its members, the MCA had explained that it has clubs as its members and there is no individual voter in the association. The MCA wants international players to be made associate members without voting rights.

“No individual member like Patron members, donor members, etc. has any voting rights. Also, the Lodha Committee had only recommended that international players be granted memberships of the Association. Assigning voting rights to international cricketers would amount to altering the foundation of the applicant Association. However, international players can be Associate Members and shall be invited and shall attend the meeting and make their contributions/suggestions,” the MCA proposal states.

With respect to the 70-year age limit, the association feels the “disqualifications are too wide”, and there is no reason to impose restrictions on members of the Governing Council. According to the MCA, if persons without sufficient experience are made to represent its interests in the BCCI, there will be no recognition for Mumbai’s contribution to Indian cricket. In order to protect the interests of the MCA, people with experience of negotiation and personal rapport with other member associations should be made representatives.

“Disqualification on the basis of age is neither fair nor practical. There are many examples of administrators who have served the game of cricket beyond the age of 70 years. MCA owes much of its success to the great leadership of administrators who contributed to the Association even after they were 70 years old. MCA strongly feels that the game should not be deprived of their expertise,” the explanation reads.

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