Former Indian Premier League (IPL) boss Lalit Modi has shot a huge letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday, communicating his exit from cricket administration. Modi, who was also the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) for many years, has been a controversial figure in Indian cricket.
He was given a life ban by the BCCI in 2013 after allegedly being found guilty of irregularities, misconduct and siphoning off money during his tenure as the IPL president.
Lalit Modi as a cricket administrator:
- IPL chairman : 2007-2010
- BCCI vice-president : 2005-2010
- Rajasthan Cricket Assocation (RCA) president : 2005-2009, 2014-2015
Modi, who fled to the United Kingdom after being banned in 2013, allegedly made a controversial deal for media rights during the IPL seasons.
It has been alleged that the cricket administrator laundered around Rs 425 crore from that deal. Modi had reportedly entered into separate agreements with two companies -- Multi Screen Media (Singapore) Ltd and World Sports Group (WSG) -- for the IPL broadcast media rights.
In RCA as well, the Lalit Modi stronghold began to fade away after his 22-year-old son Ruchir Modi lost the presidential elections to sexagenarian Congress party leader CP Joshi in June this year.
Top quotes from Lalit Modi's letter to BCCI on Saturday:
- When I came into the BCCI [in 2005], the revenues were languishing at about 260 crores and when I left in 2010, the reserves were more than 47600 crores.
- In 2010 it was valued at $11 billion and today the value of IPL has fallen to $4 billion due to lack of innovation.
- From the world-class development of the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur to a top of the line High-Performance Centre and the development of cricket in Rajasthan as a whole, we achieved all this while the funds to RCA from BCCI was blocked, ostensibly because of my presence in the system.
- I believe in the reforms introduced by the Honourable Justice Lodha. I believe that is truly the way forward. In fact, the RCA was the first of the associations to ensure 100% compliance with the proposals of the Lodha Committee in letter and spirit.
- Indian cricket administration is in a state of upheaval because of Mr N Srinivasan.
- For Rajasthan to aim higher, we need funds from the BCCI which is our rightful share. I would, therefore, request you to release the funds due to RCA as soon as possible. I believe it was blocked precisely because of my presence. With my exit from all forms of cricket, at all levels, for ever, I think RCA deserves to reclaim their share and presence on the Indian cricket map.
Full text of the letter to Rahul Johri, CEO, BCCI.
12th, August 2017
Dear Mr. Rahul Johri
Greetings to everyone in our cricket family. It has been a long journey for me in Indian cricket. The path in this journey has been rocky at times, but the destination has always been the pursuit of excellence. Needless to state that over the past 15 years, I have enjoyed every moment of my journey.
But I feel that the time is now ripe to pass on the baton to the next generation. Thus, today I want to bid goodbye to cricket administration for now. I honestly believe that I have contributed even if it is in my small way to the progress and well-being of cricket in India at all levels. Today, when I see a young cricketer in any part of India dream big, it gives me immense satisfaction.
When I joined the system way back in 2005, Indian cricket was healthy but had still not achieved its true potential. Then as we set about course correcting, we unlocked the real potential regarding the commercial value of the game in India.
When I came into the BCCI, the revenues were languishing at about 260 crores and when I left in 2010, the reserves were more than 47600 crores.
A game that would sell for a paltry 40-50 lacs today sells for 100 crores. Today India is at the pinnacle of the world cricketing economy thanks mainly to the efforts put in by all of us. Special mention here for one Mr Sharad Pawar - who shared the vision and encouraged me in our quest to launch and run one of the world's most viable cricket products of all time - The Indian Premier League. In 2010 it was valued at $11 billion and today the value of IPL has fallen to $4 billion due to lack of innovation. That has still increased the value of cricket in India by nearly eight times. Columbia and Stanford University have done case studies on how I built the league and sustained it.
The IPL is the sixth most valuable sporting property in the world, also emerging as a hotbed for nurturing and developing Indian and indeed global cricketing talent over the past ten years. Some of whom have gone on to represent India and other teams across the cricketing world. Thus, the successful conduct of the 10th edition of IPL earlier this year made me the happiest man in the whole wide world as it helped the BCCI achieve what we had set out to make, not to mention the unheard-of sponsorship value under your astute leadership being another stark reflection on the potential value of Indian cricket.
In my time at the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) we followed a similar formula whereby cricket development was the focus of all our efforts, at the very epicenter of everything we thought and did. The Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur is today, a truly world class set-up coupled with a top of the line High- Performance Centre. This facility combined with similar academies at all districts truly helps deliver world class infrastructure for the cricketers to hone their skills. One of the by-products of this effort has been triumphs in Ranji Trophy as well as the presence of some potential India players in the state of Rajasthan. We achieved all this while the funds to RCA from BCCI was blocked, ostensibly because of my presence in the system. Despite the lack of financial support and limited resources, we still managed to put in efforts to help our cricketers.
From refurbishing the Academy to bringing India's world-cup winning coach Gary Kirsten to train the Rajasthan youngsters the RCA under my Presidentship didn't think twice about the costs. It was truly a commendable effort by the team, despite the lack of support from BCCI, to put together a program for our cricketers. The other major achievement was to make cricket a truly mass sport at all levels in Rajasthan. We brought in artificial turf pitches - the best in the world and ones used at the ICC's Global Academy in Dubai - from the UK and provided it to each of the 33 districts to help take the game to the masses. All this happened while we had no disbursement of our rightful share of the larger Indian cricket pie.
When I look back at all this work at a macro and a micro level, I believe it is truly time to move on and provide the next generation of administrators an opportunity. This way we will be able to ensure that there is never a stagnation of ideas and ideas as we all know in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world is the new global currency.
More importantly, I believe in the reforms introduced by the Honorable Justice Lodha. I believe that is truly the way forward. In fact, the RCA was the first of the associations to ensure 100% compliance with the proposals of the Lodha Committee in letter and spirit. And in that same vein, I am happy to inform you that I have decided to bid cricket goodbye for now.
I am leaving cricket in capable hands of people like you, who have already made a remarkable progress in a short span of time. I honestly believe a system is more important than any individual. Indian cricket is truly an example of my belief. I will always be a loyal fan of Indian cricket. While demanding high levels of probity and propriety from some is certainly laudable, I wonder why the same standards are not applied to some like Mr N Srinivasan. After all, Indian cricket administration is in a state of upheaval because of Mr N Srinivasan. The highest court of the land, Supreme Court, has ticked him off too for his involvement in Indian cricket and has also asked him to stay away. On the contrary, I continue to be penalized for a crime that I have not committed, even after being cleared by all the investigating agencies. But Mr N Srinivasan continues to attend BCCI meetings, despite apex court's scathing observations. It does seem that while I have been expected to live up to higher standards by even exiting from all forms of cricket, the same rule is not applied to Mr Srinivasan. Maybe he is an exception to the rule, or may be the rule himself.
As I hand over the baton, I want to thank everyone in my team over the past two decades at Rajasthan and the BCCI. We had some great times sculpting and putting together the future of Indian cricket. Now that the future is here let's hope BCCI and RCA set higher goals. But for Rajasthan to aim higher, we need funds from the BCCI which is our rightful share.
I have done my part for the betterment of Rajasthan cricket, and now it is your turn to honor your part of the promise! I repose my faith in you and the BCCI to do the right thing!
I would, therefore, request you to release the funds due to RCA as soon as possible. I believe it was blocked precisely because of my presence. With my exit from all forms of cricket, at all levels, for ever, I think RCA deserves to reclaim their share and presence on the Indian cricket map. I hope the BCCI under your stewardship lives up to that promise.
Lalit Kumar Modi