The conflict of interest issue has become a hot issue amongst India cricket scene recently after Sourav Ganguly was questioned by the Ombudsman cum Ethics Officer Justice (Retd) DK Jain about his dual roles as advisor of DC and President of Cricket Association of Bengal. Ganguly refuted the allegations saying he was monetarily benefitted from either of his roles, as he was doing it on an honorary basis.
After Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman were also sent notices to explain their dual roles as mentors of IPL franchises Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively and being members of the Cricket Advisory Committee, tasked with picking the next coach of the Indian team.
It was with regards to a Conflict of Interest complaint filed by the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) member Sanjeev Gupta. As per the complainant, Tendulkar and Laxman are allegedly performing dual roles of a "support staff" of their respective IPL franchises.
“At the outset, the Noticee (Tendulkar) denies the contents of the Complaint in totality (except the statements specifically admitted herein). No part of the Complaint should be deemed to be admitted by the Noticee for lack of specific denials," Tendulkar wrote in his response which is in possession of PTI.
The iconic cricketer in his response have made a full disclosure of his role in the franchise, writing, "The Noticee (Tendulkar) has received no pecuniary benefit/ compensation from the Mumbai Indians IPL Franchise in his capacity as the Mumbai Indians 'ICON' since his retirement, and is certainly not employed with the Franchise in any capacity. He does not occupy any position, nor has he taken any decision (including the selection of team players) which could qualify as being in governance or management of the Franchise. Accordingly, there is no conflict of interest, either under the BCCI Rules or otherwise.”
Tendulkar also mentioned that he was included in the Cricket Advisory Committee by BCCI in 2015, years after his association with Mumbai Indians. "Accordingly, the BCCI aware of the Noticee's association with the Mumbai Indians Franchise at the time of his appointment to the CAC," Tendulkar’s reply noted.
"The Complaint wrongly assumes that the Noticee's association with the Mumbai Indians IPL Franchise (Franchise) is in the capacity of "governance", "management" or "employment" thereby attracting a conflict under Rule 38 (4). His role is limited to providing guidance to the Franchise team by sharing his insights, learnings and working closely with the younger members in the team to help them realize their true potential," the reply further says.
Tendulkar also replied to the query of him sitting with the players in the dugout during IPL matches. Tendulkar wrote, "A mentor cannot be qualified as "management" of the Franchise. If the Complainant's absurd logic were to be applied, a physiotherapist, trainer or a masseur would also be qualified as "management" of the Franchise.”
Tendulkar also made it clear that in case Ombudsman wants to "continue proceedings", he would "request for a personal hearing along with his legal representatives".