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Cricket board caught in a cleft stick as DDCA rejects Lodha commitee recomendations

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BCCI

New Delhi: BCCI is divided as The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) rejects the recommendations of the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee on fair governance and accountability.DDCA thus becomes the only unit affiliated to the Indian cricket board to have rejected almost all the recommendations.

It was only expected of the DDCA to reject the recommendations lock stock and barrel when others state units have problems with certain portions of the comprehensive report prepared at the Supreme Court’s will.

The DDCA has the temerity to say that so long as its directors- it is registered under Companies Act- do not feel that there is any justification to change the system for the sake of uniformity, it will remain as it is. Thus, it also wants to continue with the obnoxious proxy voting system.

The Delhi association has a problem with every clause and does not want to change as it has perfected the art of circumventing the existing laws/rules/regulations over the years.

The apex court did not stop at accepting the committee’s report suggesting structural reforms in the functioning of the board in a clean transparent manner. It is firm on its implementation.

Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla gave little room for the board to vacillate in implementing the recommendations without any reservations, saying since the committee held extensive deliberations with all stakeholders there should be no difficulty in accepting them.

The cricket board did not say anything immediately and had a long pause before murmurs started from state associations about the practical difficulties they will face in complying with the report.

The court kept the door ajar by asking the board to file its response before the next hearing on March 3. It also said in no uncertain terms that if the board has any problems in implementing the recommendations it will ask the Lodha Committee to ensure the implementation!

After the court has made its intention clear, the board has been left with little scope for any manoeuvre unless the committee agrees to listen to its pleas and tweak some of the recommendations.

Two weeks after the Supreme Court missive, the board called a Special General Meeting (SGM) on Friday but did not take up a clause-by-clause discussion, saying that the state associations sent on their observations and the board have its own.

So the board decided to file an affidavit with its secretary explaining why some of the recommendations are unimplementable and at the same time asked the state units to do likewise on the clauses affecting their functioning.

The board is identifying the people who have fed the committee with some weird inputs and want to impress upon it that most of the people who deposed before it have been at it for a number of years.

The board officials may name some lawyers, former players and event management companies who they feel have a grouse against the board and used the opportunity to settle scores.

The board anticipated the turn of events and will now flood the court with a spate of affidavits expressing their points of view over the implementation of the report in toto.

They may cite hurdles in implementing the one-state-one-vote norm, age cap and term of office and a cooling off period between two terms, funding players’ associations and including franchise owners in the Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

However, the board will explain the issues that can crop up in changing its registration and amending its by-laws as it claims it can not dictate to the state units to change their constitutions. That’s the reason the states have been asked to file different affidavits.

Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha, Saurashtra, Gujarat and Baroda are unwilling to lose their voting rights and so are the Universities, Railways, Services, Cricket Club of India (CCI) and National Cricket Club (NCC).

Removing Services, Railways and Universities will in one stroke take away the government’s influence over the board to a large extent. These three votes invariably tilted the balance in the election. One can understand the CCI remaining as a voting member, but certainly not the NCC.

Mumbai and Saurashtra also do not want to lose their key officials, president Sharad Pawar, 75, and secretary Niranjan Shah, 71, respectively under the 70-year age cap.

Most of the state associations have also expressed reservations about a three-member selection committee saying it is well-nigh impossible for them to cover the entire country with more and more states joining the board. Strangely, this is one of the demands made for ages to remove regional bias.

The court stated that it could keep the Lodha panel alive so that it could help the BCCI overcome difficulties it might face in implementing the recommendations. Justice Lodha might become to the board what Justice Mukul Mudgal is for the DDCA!

Some senior office-bearers of the board are miffed at one-man-one-post norm as they do not want to lose their grip over their state associations which give them the clout to get on the board.

As is the case in this country, someone is already working to circumvent the recommendations just as a loophole in then sports minister Margaret Alva’s government guidelines permitted the czars of Indian sport to retain their control over the federations in some capacity after finishing their term as president/secretary/treasurer. Here, the Lodha Committee is clear that there has to be a cooling off period after one term in any capacity.

It will not be easy for the board and its affiliates to convince the Committee to dilute the report, but at the same time, it will find it difficult to implement.

The board is caught in a cleft stick! (Veturi Srivatsa, IANS)

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Here’s Why Americans Spend Billions On The Fantasy Football

During the season when players get hurt, you’ve got to change your lineup, add people from the waivers

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Many fantasy football leagues hold draft parties, when league players get together to select their team’s players before the start of the season. (Photo by Flickr user David Clow via Creative Commons license). VOA

The first thing Nima Vaez-Zadeh does before starting work during football season is check up on his fantasy football team. “During the season when players get hurt, you’ve got to change your lineup, add people from the waivers,” the 30-year-old says. “You do spend up to an hour during lunch or whatever kind of monitoring everything, making sure you’re picking up the right people and your lineups are set.”

Fantasy football is a competition in which participants create imaginary teams from among the actual players in the National Football League (NFL). They score points based on the actual performance of their players in the real games. Money is often part of the equation. Each fantasy football participant contributes a certain amount of money to his or her respective league, which is won by the top player or players at the end of the season.

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Fantasy football players like Nima Vaez-Zadeh often vie for the right to win their league’s trophy for a year. Fantasy football players like Nima Vaez-Zadeh often vie for the right to win their league’s trophy for a year. VOA

Washington-based Vaez-Zadeh, a key account manager in the hospitality world, is one of an estimated 12.5 million adults in the United States who will play fantasy football this year. But some estimate the number is actually much higher.

The Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association (FSGA) says there are 59 million fantasy sports players in the United States and Canada, and that about 39 million of those players prefer fantasy football. Overall, the fantasy sports industry is worth more than $7 billion a year, according to FSGA.

Like many Americans, Vaez-Zadeh has been playing fantasy football for years. And he doesn’t just take part in one competition. This season, he’s participating in four different fantasy football leagues with, in order, high school friends, college friends, co-workers and relatives.

“I enjoy it. You know my dream growing up was always to be, like, a GM [general manager] of a professional team,” he says. “This is the closest I’ll ever get to it, so it kind of makes me feel like I could put together a super team on my own and monitor that.”

But is that fun costing U.S. employers billions of dollars?

“We’re anticipating that fantasy football is going to cost employers this year around $9 billion in lost wages being paid to workers that are otherwise being unproductive participating in fantasy football activities in the office when normally they would be working,” says Andrew Challenger, vice president of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Although there’s no conclusive way to track employer losses, Challenger estimates workers will spend 30 minutes daily during work hours — outside of breaks or their lunch hour — checking on their players, proposing trades and doing related research.

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But Challenger doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. In fact, he thinks it would be a mistake for employers to crack down on fantasy football in the workplace, especially with smartphones and social media already providing lots of distractions for workers.

“Fantasy football is one of those few areas that employers can insert themselves,” Challenger says. “They can start their own league, and it gets people within the office talking to each other, often people from different departments within your organization … and we feel like that’s a really good investment for companies in terms of the culture of their organizations, employee morale and camaraderie.”

Challenger has seen these results firsthand. His company sanctions an official fantasy football league.

“We have a trophy that you get your name engraved on at the end of each season and get to keep that on your desk all year,” he says. “So, it’s kind of a fun non-monetary incentive.”

Vaez-Zadeh’s workplace doesn’t run an official league, but he says members of the leadership team do participate in the office fantasy football league.

Of course, everyone wants to win, but for Vaez-Zadeh, a key benefit of fantasy football is keeping in touch and interacting with old friends during the 17-week NFL season.

“A lot of you will do a live draft, so everyone plans a weekend to get together so you get to see each other,” he says. “Every year, you already have something on the books where you’ll see each other again. It gives you bragging rights for the year, too.” (VOA)