x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Srinivasan re-elected as Indian cricket chief

Embattled businessman wins third term despite allegations of corruption in the game.

N Srinivasan is considered one of the most powerful men in world cricket. AFP
N Srinivasan is considered one of the most powerful men in world cricket. AFP

NEW DELHI // N Srinivasan, India’s embattled cricket chief, won a third term in office on Sunday even though a Supreme Court order bars him from taking charge immediately due to a corruption scandal, sources said.

The 68-year-old cement tycoon, one of the most powerful men in world cricket, was elected unopposed for another year at the annual meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in Chennai.

Srinivasan’s re-election was confirmed to Agence France-Presse by two BCCI sources, who added that a formal announcement will be made later on Sunday.

The Supreme Court had on Friday barred Srinivasan from taking charge until it has ruled on a petition against him over a spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League (IPL), a popular Twenty20 event.

A cricket body in the eastern state of Bihar, which is not affiliated to the BCCI, had asked the court to prevent Srinivasan from heading the BCCI on moral grounds because his son-in-law had been charged in the scandal.

The son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, is among several officials, players and bookmakers charged with cheating and criminal conspiracy, although the BCCI chief himself has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

It was not immediately clear who will head the BCCI until the Supreme Court’s verdict, or whether fresh elections will be held if Srinivasan is subsequently barred from holding office.

Srinivasan temporarily stepped aside as president in June when Meiyappan was named in the scandal, and handed interim control to Jagmohan Dalmiya, a former head of the International Cricket Council.

However, the tycoon has continued to pull the strings behind the scenes and on Wednesday ensured that his bete noire, IPL founder Lalit Modi, was banned for life from the sport.

Srinivasan has publicly distanced himself from his son-in-law, who was the team principal of the Chennai Super Kings, the IPL franchise owned by India Cements and captained by MS Dhoni, the national captain.

The Bihar association had argued in court that an internal BCCI probe panel had absolved Srinivasan, Meiyappan, India Cements and other IPL officials of wrongdoing even before police had filed charges in court.

Srinivasan’s hold on world cricket stems from India’s vast television audience which enables the country to generate almost 70 per cent of the game’s revenues.

International news organisations, including Agence France-Presse, have suspended their on-field coverage of matches hosted by the BCCI since last year after the board imposed restrictions on picture agencies.