Cleaning up IPL

CORRECTION-INDIA-CRICKET-CORRUPTION-GAMBLING-IPLDELHI – The BCCI has announced its first set of proposals to “clean up” the IPL, measures ranging from financial disclosures by players and team owners to curbing the tournament’s controversial “entertainment” quotient, including putting a stop to cheerleaders and after-match parties.

The measures are part of “Operation Clean-Up,” announced by acting BCCI head Jagmohan Dalmiya at the end of a working committee meeting in Delhi today. It aims to curb corruption and remove “sleaze” in the IPL by enforcing a “strict code of conduct” for players, support staff and owners, after the 2013 season was hit by charges of spot-fixing against players and by allegations that team owners were involved in illegal betting.

Players will be required to reveal sources of their earnings, and owners will have to furnish details of payments and their contractual obligations with players and support staff.

Access to the players’ dug-out and dressing room has been tightened once again, with Dalmiya saying that team owners will be restricted from these areas during matches. Owners were allowed in the dug-out and dressing room during the first season in 2008, but following complaints had been prevented from entering those areas thereafter. They now have seating arrangements close to the dug-out.

Top officials of two teams, Gurunath Meiyappan of the Chennai Super Kings and Raj Kundra of Rajasthan Royals, have confessed to taking part in illegal betting, according to the Mumbai and Delhi police.

Dalmiya also said that “no selector will be allowed to get associated with any franchise in any capacity.” No member of India’s current selection panel is attached to any franchise, but former selection chairman Kris Srikkanth was brand ambassador for the Super Kings for a period at the start of the IPL.

Players and support staff will need to provide their telephone numbers to the BCCI before the IPL, and there will be a larger number of officials from the BCCI’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit at grounds and hotels during the tournament. It was also said that cell phone towers at the ground could be jammed during matches.

No decision was taken on the strategic time-out, which accounts for five minutes of every IPL match. The two intervals of two and a half minutes each allow teams to strategise with support staff, and commercially it creates 300 seconds of advertising space. However, according to police investigations that led to more than 25 betting-related arrests, the time-out was also an ideal period for the syndicates to adjust their session and spot odds.

Operation Clean Up is a work in progress, Dalmiya said, and IPL captains will be called for a meeting and franchises will also be consulted before a blueprint could be finalised at another working committee meeting.

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