News 3 August 2015

Mumbai Cricket Association rejects cricketer’s appeal against life ban

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) Vice-President has told reporters that the MCA has rejected former Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai cricketer Ankeet Chavan’s request to appeal against the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to ban him for life for spot-fixing while playing for the Rajasthan Royals franchise during the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament. “The BCCI’s stand is very clear,” Ashish Shelar told reporters. “We as the MCA unanimously decided that the action on Ankeet Chavan has been proposed because of the BCCI’s disciplinary committee action and the BCCI’s anti-corruption code.”

Last month the Sports Integrity Initiative reported that the BCCI had issued a statement saying that it would uphold the life ban on Indian cricketers S. Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan, despite criminal spot-fixing charges being dropped by a New Delhi court. ‘Any disciplinary proceeding or decision taken by the BCCI is independent to any criminal ​proceeding and has no bearing,’ read a statement on the BCCI’s website. ‘The decisions of the BCCI, based on its independent disciplinary action, shall remain unaltered.’

Following the court’s acquittal, Shelar said that “Ankeet Chavan, has made an email application to MCA to report to the BCCI to lift his ban. But the BCCI has already sent an email to MCA clearing the factual position on this issue. Such a player has been accused of BCCI’s anti-corruption code as well as disciplinary action and he has not chosen to appeal that decision, so we shouldn’t propose such kind of ban lifting of Ankeet Chavan and managing committee’s approval.”

Shelar explained that the court ruling related only to the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA), and not the BCCI’s ruling, “The player has not challenged the BCCI’s ruling, so how can we?”

According to local reports, the MCA’s joint secretary Dr P V Shetty had said that whatever the decision of the [MCA’s] managing committee on the issue, the final authority was the BCCI. ‘We may decide to forward his letter along with our own decision to the BCCI. But we will abide by whatever the BCCI says,’ Shetty reportedly said.

The BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the court ruling would not have any bearing on the BCCI’s decision. “Criminal proceedings are entirely different to the disciplinary proceedings. The decision has been taken by the BCCI’s disciplinary committee, not by a court of law,” Thakur had told ESPNcricinfo. “Action has been taken against the players on the report of our anti-corruption unit. As per the BCCI rules and regulations, the ban on these players will stay.”

Thakur’s comments were prompted by reports that the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), had urged the BCCI to lift its ban on former India, Kerala and Rajasthan Royals cricketer S. Sreesanth. KCA President and BCCI Vice President TC Mathew told the Indo-Asian News Service that he had written to both the Secretary and the President of the BCCI requesting that “In the light of the court itself exonerating Sreesanth from the case, the ban imposed on him be lifted”.

During the Ashish Shelar’s press conference after the MCA managing committee meeting on Sunday, Shelar also announced that the MCA’s managing committee had unanimously decided to lift the ban preventing Shah Rukh Khan from entering the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. According to ESPNcricinfo, Khan, the co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders and a Bollywood actor, had been banned from entering the stadium for five years following a scuffle with security guards after an IPL game in 2012. According to the Times of India, that a ‘certain section of the MCA’ had wanted the ban to end earlier than the five year initial period, arguing that Khan had already served a substantial period of his ban ‘respectfully’ without trying to enter the stadium at any stage.

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