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Volume 6 No. 234
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Indian Government Will Not Interfere With BCCI In Spot-Fixing Scandal

Regarding the Board of Control for Cricket in India in the wake of the T20 spot-fixing, India Law Minister Kapil Sibal said that the government has ruled out interference with it unless it "becomes absolutely necessary," but insists that the cricketing body should have "transparent" and "objective" systems in place to prevent malpractices, according to the PTI. Sibal said, "Sports can't be run by governments ... governments getting involved in sports activities would ultimately damage sports." He was responding to a question as to whether government should step into the affairs of the BCCI "as questions are being raised over its functioning in the wake of spot-fixing allegations." Sibal, a renowned lawyer, said that sports organizations "should be encouraged to find solutions for themselves." Sibal: "If there are malpractices in sports, part of the solution lies in the organizations themselves taking a very strong view and cleaning up the mess from within" (PTI, 5/27). The PTI also wrote the BCCI on Sunday suspended Chennai Super Kings CEO Gurunath Meiyappan, "who was arrested for alleged involvement in betting, pending an inquiry into his role." Meiyappan, who is the son-in-law of BCCI President N. Srinivasan, "was arrested by the Mumbai Police on Friday." BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale said, "Pending further investigations and any subsequent hearing by the BCCI Disciplinary Committee or the IPL Code of Behaviour Committee, Mr. Meiyappan has been suspended by the BCCI from any involvement in the sport of cricket and in particular from any involvement with the Chennai Super Kings team" (PTI, 5/26).

NOT GOING ANYWHERE: The FINANCIAL TIMES' James Crabtree wrote Srinivasan "has rejected calls for his resignation amid a deepening corruption scandal" surrounding the IPL tournament. At a "defiant" press conference, Srinivasan defended his role in the controversy, "dismissing speculation that he would resign and launching an attack on India's media for its vociferous coverage of the investigations." Srinivasan: "I have explained it many times, I have done nothing wrong. I will not allow myself to be railroaded, bulldozed or threatened" (FT, 5/26). BLOOMBERG's Narayan & Ramakrishnan wrote Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and former Board Secretary Jayawant Lele have called for Srinivasan's resignation. Srinavasan said, "I have not been asked by anybody" on the board to resign. Srinivasan "was heckled by spectators in Kolkata's Eden Garden stadium." Brand Finance Global Strategy Dir Unni Krishnan said that "the controversies have destroyed" $1B of stakeholder value (BLOOMBERG, 5/27).

BOOKIES BOOKED: The PTI wrote the Goa police "busted an alleged IPL betting syndicate" and arrested six bookies. A police official said, "The six bookies were operating for the last 45 days in Goa and accepting bets." Meanwhile, in Ahmedabad, three people "were arrested from a temple for allegedly betting on cricket matches" (PTI, 5/27).

CAMERA SHY: The PTI also reported Chennai Super Kings cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni "avoided the media for the second time in two days in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal, but coach Stephen Fleming defended the captain, saying he was well known for being reclusive." Fleming: "That's his style. In this case, I can represent the team well. He does not do a lot of media, you know that" (PTI, 5/27).

BETTING TREND: REUTERS' Chakraborty & Ganguly wrote "cricket has been hit by a series of gambling-related scandals" in int'l matches in recent years. But Indian cricketer Shanthakumaran Sreesanth's case is the first time allegations of "fixing" in the IPL are being heard in a court of law, "despite a huge, illegal betting industry that has grown up around the tournament." Local media has estimated wagers on IPL games reached $427M in '09," although gambling on sport remains illegal in India, except for horse-racing." Enormous sums of money "can be won if players can be bribed or coerced to manipulate outcomes." Rahul Mehra, a lawyer who has filed cases against the BCCI and other sports associations in India seeking more transparency in their operations, said, "I'm not shocked at what has happened. I'm shocked so little came out" (REUTERS, 5/26). The Indian BUSINESS STANDARD's Yogini Joglekar wrote the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry "reinitiates its call for regulating sports betting in India." Despite several attempts to ban it by deploying resources, "betting is still a continuing trend." Thus, "it should be regulated in a way which reduces this to an acceptable level" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 5/24).