News Karnataka
Saturday, December 03 2022

Indian Railways cricketers form association, want to attend BCCI AGM

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New Delhi:  Some former railways cricketers on Monday announced that they have formed an association — probably the first ever in Indian Railways’ history — and have requested the Railways to allow their representative, as enumerated in the Supreme Court-approved Indian cricket board constitution, to attend the upcoming annual general meeting of the BCCI.

However, the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) immediately rejected the proposal, saying that the association has “no sanctity” in its eyes as there is “no mechanism in the department” that allows players to form associations in any sporting discipline — unless, of course, the Supreme Court orders otherwise.

The new body is named Indian Railways Cricketers’ Association (IRCA) and it has obtained a certificate of registration from the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 (Tamil Nadu Act 27 of 1975) under Section 10. The IRCA was registered on November 1 in Chennai.

Former Railways fast bowler Kishore Kumar Sharma is the president of IRCA, and the other members of the executive committee are Iqbal Abu Bakar Thakur (vice-president), Srinivason S. (secretary), Amar Singh Negi (joint secretary), Sudhakar D. (treasurer), Munuswamy P. (committee member) and Dharmendra Kumar Mishra (committee member).

In a letter sent to RSPB secretary Prem Chand Lochab, Sharma informed him about the formation of the association and requested him to nominate Srinivason to attend the general body meetings of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). A BCCI AGM is coming up on December 24.

Sharma quoted Rule 3 (a)(ii) of the Supreme Court-approved BCCI constitution, which says that only a representative of an association of former Railways players would be allowed to vote in the BCCI general body meetings, and not officials nominated by the government/RSPB.

“We request you to nominate Srinivason S., secretary of IRCA, to attend the general body meetings of the BCCI, who shall also represent on behalf of the IRCA with various affiliated associations and other bodies controlling the game of cricket,” Sharma said in his letter to the RSPB secretary.

Sharma said IRCA has been formed as per the orders of the Supreme Court and that is enumerated in the BCCI constitution.

“The Supreme Court is the country’s biggest defender of people’s rights. We have formed IRCA on its instructions. Ultimately, the RSPB and the BCCI will have to understand this — that IRCA has been formed as per the approved BCCI constitution. We will have to make IRCA on the lines of the Indian Cricketers’ Association (ICA), which also has been formed on the basis of Supreme Court’s orders and the BCCI constitution,” Sharma told IANS.

“But I want to make it clear that irrespective of IRCA, the RSPB will always remain our parent body. If it blesses us, we will move ahead together,” he said, hitting a conciliatory note.

Sharma said that the idea of formation of IRCA came up during discussions on a WhatsApp group of former players.

“We have a WhatsApp group comprising about 80 male and female players. The idea of having a players’ association originated during discussions there. I have received warm and positive reactions and messages from former players, like ex-India women’s player Hemlata Kala and Ratan Singh,” he said.

Lochab, however, said there is no question of embracing IRCA, or sending Srinivason as a RSPB representative to the BCCI AGM on December 24.

“It is not possible. Our case is represented in the Supreme Court [in relation to the BCCI reforms case] and our viewpoint is that we don’t have any such mechanism [to let players form associations]. So, the stand that we have taken in the Supreme Court remains the stand of the department. We have no information about the IRCA; Railways have no concern with it,” Lochab told IANS.

“We have informed the Supreme Court that we are a department and predominantly our job is to promote sports, and not any other agenda. Also, the BCCI does not provide us any grant, like it gives to its other affiliates, and we ourselves spend to develop cricket. The RSPB will maintain that stand, until the Supreme Court instructs us otherwise. And if that happens, the department would form such an association,” he explained.

“Even if we hypothetically say that a players’ association is to be formed, it would be formed by the department, having thousands of our cricketers as its members, and not by a group of people outside of it. That is not possible. If some people form an association, it will have no sanctity,” said Lochab, and pointed out that the RSPB patronises 29 sporting disciplines.

When asked if the RSPB would call the members of IRCA for talks, Lochab said that was not possible.

According to Sharma, IRCA has only seven members at the moment. “We have only seven members who are in the executive committee. This is only a beginning, and we will now go on a membership drive. We will also have associations of former Railways players in the states, and for that we will soon approach other railway players to become members of IRCA,” he said.

Interestingly, some former Railways players questioned the formation of the body, as they claimed they were not aware of the development.

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali

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