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IPL: Don’t stop the circus, clean up the stables

Drugs, drinks, women, gambling, spot fixing! What more do we need to shut down the IPL? Cleaning up the mess is the answer and the responsibility lies with the BCCI, the IPL Council and the owners of the franchises

Drugs, drinks, women, gambling, spot fixing: Sounds like a cross between an early seventies rock festival and a sleazy bookies annual convention in Mumbai, with guests from Pakistan. No, this is the Indian Premier League (IPL), the jewel in the crown of Indian cricket and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

No wonder Kirti Azad, a key member of Kapil’s Devils, the team which won the 1983 cricket World Cup, has gone on a fast demanding that the IPL be scrapped. Azad may be asking for too much. Clean-up, yes; obliteration, no. All would agree that the 2012 edition of IPL has become something like the Augean Stables. And we need a Hercules to divert the Ganges and clean up the IPL which has created a stench worse than Chennai’s Cooum River and the Buckingham Canal.

What more do we need to shut down the show, asks Azad. But let us see if there are any positives to offset these activities of IPL players that offend the nostrils. Let us look at the negatives first.

Five uncapped Indian players in the IPL were caught in a sting operation by a TV channel that implicated them in spot-fixing. BCCI, which seems to have lost control over the IPL, has suspended the five players pending an in-house investigation. No one knows or is saying why the police have not been brought in because unlicensed gambling is a crime in India.

On Sunday night, the police raided a rave party in a hotel in Juhu, Mumbai, and rounded up nearly a hundred people, 58 men and 38 women, all young. Among them were two IPL players and the children of so-called celebrities. The police found 110 grams of cocaine, a large number of Ecstasy tablets and charas.

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, joint owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders,  was involved in a brawl in the Wankhede Stadium with the officials of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), which banned him from the entering the stadium for five years. Khan said he was objecting to a security guard “roughing up” his little daughter while the Association claimed Khan was drunk and disorderly.

Luke Pomersbach, the Australian playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore, was arrested on charges of molesting Zohal Hamid, a woman who is a US citizen. He was given bail by a Delhi court. His passport was seized and he cannot leave the country until the police investigation is complete.

The alleged molestation happened at five in the morning, after a drunken all-night party in which Zohal was present throughout along with her fiance. Pomersbach got full support from Siddharth Mallya, who used foul language on Twitter while claiming that Zohal was a woman of doubtful character. Zohal has filed a defamation case against Siddharth, son of liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

Azad’s claim is that these incidents are enough to close down the IPL; and who is to say that such things will not happen in future?

The positives in favour of continuing the IPL with a clean-up are that for five years the ILP matches have been providing good, wholesome entertainment for tens of millions of cricket fans all over the world; even Indians in the US are following these matches closely.

There will always be a few rotten ones but we cannot tar the whole bunch with the same brush.

And then there is the humongous amount of money involved in the IPL which is not just a yearly international cricket tournament but a big industry. The turnover since the time IPL started must have neared or crossed $1 billion. You cannot closed own a flourishing, billion dollar industry by a fiat. And there are thousands of contracts, many of them intertwining, which cannot be cancelled without creating a mess which would take years to settle. Cleaning up the IPL is the answer and the responsibility lies with the BCCI, the IPL Council and the owners of the franchises.

First, impose discipline on the players and the owners. From the beginning the players have been forced to attend parties after every match in which liquor flows like water, attended by women who most of the time stay on drinking till the parties get over just as the sun is rising.Therefore, the first step is no boozing for the players, no partying; and lights out at 11pm.  The rest of the clean-up will follow automatically.

(R Vijayaraghavan has been a professional journalist for more than four decades, specialising in finance, business and politics. He conceived and helped to launch the Business Line, the financial daily of The Hindu group. He can be contacted at [email protected].)




4 years ago

What abt our politicians & bureaucrats & other govt servants? We are daily reading of the scams & unaccounted money being found with them. So we look for soln. We never say that we will close Govt dept or Parliament :)
So IPL is also to be treated as such a case which needs cleansing through implementation of laws. Closing IPL should never be a soln.


4 years ago

Ban IPL. This has turned out be a playground for Black money. You can't clean up. Either you ban it or allow it to run, like any other black-money-act.

anantha ramdas

4 years ago

There is no doubt that IPL has brought about great revolution in the field of cricket and every other nation is envious of its success. But what has happened in the recent past, so well covered by Vijayaraghavan, needs to be analysed thoroughly and an effective mechanism put in place to stop such post match activities like the party celebrations beyond a reasonable time. Without any leniency spot fixing and related activities must be stopped ruthlessly.
I believe there is the tax issue that IPL has to face and not seek exemption. Also, IPL must start spending part of its earnings in setting up Cricket Academies and invest in building new stadiums where they are needed. By the way, why not IPL also divert some funds for development of this game so that our Ladies Cricket Team also gets support and popularize the game?

Anna Hazare supports 'Bharat Bandh' against petrol price hike

Anna Hazare also criticised the UPA government for burdening the common man with price hikes while they were celebrating their third anniversary of being in power

Nashik: Even as corruption and inflation have made life difficult for common man, the government's decision to hike petrol prices has only added fuel to fire, anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare said, reports PTI.

"My activists will support the 'Bharat Bandh' called by the BJP and Left parties on 31st May to protest petrol price hike," Hazare said while addressing a public meeting here last night.

He criticised the UPA government for burdening the common man with price hikes while they were celebrating their third anniversary of being in power.

"If the government does not pass the Jan Lokpal Bill, I will begin my fast unto death at New Delhi," he said.

When reporters quizzed him about his health and would be take up fasting during ill-health also, Hazare said, "I am totally fit."

The social worker urged the youth to participate in his fight against corruption.

The youngsters brought about revolutionary changes in Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan. The youth are coming together in the country to fight for a corruption-free India. The country is going ahead towards a new revolution by following the path of non-violence.

Hazare has been on a month-long tour of the state on the Lokayukta Bill issue from 1st May.

On Wednesday, the anti-corruption crusader underwent several medical tests at local hospitals here, after he complained of fatigue and weakness.




4 years ago

On the one hand the government imposes exorbitant taxes on petrol / fuel (main reason for high prices) and on the other hand it subsidizes the same to make it affordable to the peopleā€¦I am confused.

I guess if the taxes were reduced then how would the government provide the free fuel and free transport perks to our politicians?

Utsal Karani

4 years ago

Team Anna is dabbling in all kinds of issues of which they have absolutely no knowledge. Team Anna wants the Government to maximise revenue from telecom spectrum thru auctions which will ultimately hit the poor masses who were empowered by the mobile/telecom revolution. The object of telecom policy ought to be affordabilty and penetration across the country. Telecom can usher in economic revolution in India for all classes. Now Anna wants Govt to subsidise the motor fuels consumed by the richer class owning cars ignorant of the fact that massive subsidies in oil results in fiscal deficit and printing of currency, which in turn causes inflation hitting the poorest of the poor. It also inflates the demand for imported oil causing Current Account Deficit which in turn hits the Rupee (devaluation), making all essential imports costly including crude oil, edible oils and hundreds of essential goods. In fact Team Anna should encourage people to reduce dependence on oil thru various means and exhort all Indians to sacrifice penchant for Gold which is resulting in massive flight of Capital abroad and debasing the rupee. Can Team Anna or Baba Ramdev understand basic economics? Are they only playing politics or into publicity issues?



In Reply to Utsal Karani 4 years ago

Our politicians get free transport facility - the rich drive cars that run on diesel - the rest of the public is either "forced" to drive / can afford only small cars and two wheelers that run on petrol because the public transport system in our country is so awesome!!!!


4 years ago

Bring down the Govt which resists JanLokpal,Promotes corruption, does not control inflation,
Protects interests of Black money holders,Exploits CBI, Bullys regional State Govt, Forgets
the Poor Aam Admi, and always remember what US/IMF/World bank needs like desh exploiting
FDIs, burdening Arm deals,

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