The controversy-ridden Bihar Cricket Association, along with its registered first-class and List A players, are likely to face tough sanctions from the BCCI for defying the parent body’s orders to stop the unsanctioned Bihar Cricket League (BCL). The BCL was held in Patna from March 20-26. The tournament had five franchises Angika Avengers, Bhagalpur Bulls, Darbhanga Diamonds, Gaya Gladiators and Patna Pilots and was aired on Eurosport channel. Darbhanga Diamonds emerged as champions in the final played at the Urja Stadium.

The BCCI, on March 23, had sent a letter (in possession of PTI) to the BCA telling them, in no uncertain terms, that their ‘T20 league’ hasn’t got approval and must be stopped. However, the defiant BCA officials didn’t pay heed to the BCCI and went ahead with the remaining games.

“We have reviewed your responses to our queries, and upon careful consideration, BCCI has decided to not accord its approval to the Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) for conducting its T20 domestic league cricket tournament (i.e. BCL), as it does not fulfil/comply the directives of the advisory and guidelines issued by the BCCI,” the board’s acting CEO Hemang Amin had written to the state body, clarifying its stand.

The BCCI, in its communication, categorically asked the BCA to cancel the BCL or get ready to face sanctions in line with the board’s constitution.

“……we appreciate BCA’s endeavour and constant pursuit towards building cricket culture in the state of Bihar, and assure you that the BCCI will support BCA, within the contours of law. Accordingly, BCCI instructs you to cancel the T20 domestic league cricket tournament (i.e., BCL),” it stated. “In the event, BCA does not cancel the ongoing T20 tournament (i.e., BCL), the tournament will be deemed to be an ‘Unapproved Tournament’ as per BCCI’s Rules and Regulations and BCA will be liable for sanctions, as per BCCI’s Rules and Regulations,” it said.

In recent years, on the recommendation of its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), the BCCI has decided to put a cap on state body-run T20 leagues after multiple cases of dubious ownership, unusual betting patterns emerged.

“What the Bihar CA officials have done is they have put the careers of young players in line with their defiance. What if BCCI now bans players as per Article 31 of constitution? What if BCCI stops the annual grant? Will Rakesh Tiwary take responsibility,” IPL spot-fixing petitioner and member of rival body, Aditya Verma, told PTI.

The BCCI is also peeved that BCA officials perceived the board’s silence as a mark of approval and went ahead with the tournament.

“… BCCI is required to ensure that all its members (including BCA) comply with the relevant rules/regulations/advisories, issued by competent authorities for regulating cricket in India.

“Keeping this background in mind, please note that the BCCI has not provided its approval to BCA for conducting BCL. At this juncture, we also clarify in clear and unequivocal terms that mere silence cannot and should not be construed to be as approval (deemed or otherwise),” it stated.

The rules as per Article 31 of BCCI constitution that has been violated are:

31. BAN ON PARTICIPATION IN UNAPPROVED TOURNAMENTS

(1) No Member shall participate or extend help of any kind to an unapproved tournament.

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(2) No Player, Umpire, Scorer, Official or other person associated with the BCCI shall participate in any unapproved tournament.

(3) The Apex Council shall take appropriate action including suspension and stoppage of financial benefits and any other action against individuals / Members contravening the above. BCA supremo Tiwary couldn’t be reached for a comment.

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