Corruption in Cricket Stifles Growth
By Bikram Bains
Corruption in sports is not a new phenomenon with cheating at the player level, match fixing, and ruining equipment. However, a new kind of cheating taking place is taking place in cricket. This cheating is worse because it goes up to the institutional level. The type of cheating that warps the rules, meaning that some teams begin at a disadvantage before playing.
Cricket is a sport that originated in Britain and spread through England’s invasion into other countries such as Australia, the Caribbean, India, New Zealand, North America, and South Africa. Cricket becomes a mainstay even when those countries got their freedom from England and began to master the sport. The International Cricket Council formed in 1909, so countries could play against each other. In an interview, a cricket journalist Ayaz Memon, said, “We took a game that our colonisers forced on us and we made it our own.” And now, India has become a dominating force in the game. India has had a fair amount of Cricket World Cup wins, but their real power comes from its revenue.
India has the second-largest population in the world and has the most cricket viewers of any other country. This many viewers has created a lucrative opportunity for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and the Indian Premier League (IPL). Due to the number of viewers that India has brought to cricket, the ICC decided to give 33% of the total revenue each year to India. This is the most any country gets with England getting 8%, Australia getting 7.6%, and other countries are getting even less. With this money, India gained control over the ICC. Indian cricket has become such a big part of international cricket that many broadcasters have refused to buy rights for matches without India. The BCCI has become so rich that they practically control the ICC. One of the uses of this power is for ad revenue. According to the South China Morning Post, the BCCI once removed six teams from a sixteen team tournament just so India could get more playing time. This allowed for more ads for Indian broadcasters and less for other countries. Perhaps, the most disgusting use of their power was when they didn’t allow cricket to become an Olympic sport. The reason is that the BCCI can’t control cricket at that level, so they have no monetary incentive to let that happen. This has upset cricket fans in India, and all over the world.
Corruption has become a large and almost irreversible problem, however, The Indian government has taken steps to level the playing field. Recently, the IPL’s founder, Lalit Modi, was thrown out of the IPL for corruption along with many of his associates. An investigation currently remains underway regarding the BCCI’s practices. The future of cricket is not completely in danger. With the right rules, regulations, and policing, change can happen.