Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In defense of Lalit Modi and Capitalism in Sport

In response to my tweet,

tantricNinja why wud any org. wanna lose an amazing admin like @LalitKModi? remem IPL2 in SA? heck, he even got a minister fired!

someone raised the following queries (in bold letters). Since they are of public interest (!?!), I'm replying here ...

1. The (IPL) commissioner (Lalit Modi) himself is involved in match-fixing

seems like a wild allegation. franchises which have spent hundreds of millions are throwing away matches? why? wud Punjab owners sell if losses aren't making them unviable?

2. IPL is used as a money laundering route

how is Modi responsible for this? atleast in the Kochi case, he asked who are the real owners. if ED (Enforcement Directorate) can't find money laundering, there is not much a commissioner can do.

3. He is diverting good percentage of IPL earnings (10%) towards his own companies

again a wild allegation. u think Mukesh Ambanis and Mallyas of this world will watch and keep quiet if someone is pocketing earnings from their investments?

as for, BCCI signed an MoU with companies (LCM, Netbluelink etc) in which Modi's relatives/friends currently have stakes. this MoU was also for if ppl had problems with this vendor, they shud have raised it in BCCI or IPL governing council meetings. remember such firms as Sony and Google who own broadcasts rights have not objected to

4. He is favoring specific companies to get the deal and in turn gets personally benefited from that

again a wild allegation. even his worst [current] adversary like Shashi Tharoor has not accused Modi of personally benefiting from franchise deals. Modi's family members got stakes in (teams) Royals and Kings XI thru proper bidding.

>> IPL is not a private company or a private venture. It is a part of BCCI. They are answerable to people

not really 'answerable' to people. as long as their books are clear during ED / IT dept investigations, they are fine. but yes transparency is desirable.

ironically Modi with his tweets brought a level of transparency unheard of in any sport or any other body (govt or private) in this country.

>> Modi must go.

do you think IPL will be what it is, without the hard hours put in by Lalit Modi?

When the incompetent Indian Govt refused to provide security to IPL2 in 2009, he moved the tournament to South Africa and completed it without any apparent glitch.

Lalit Modi is by far the most competent sport administrator in the country. Compare him to Suresh Kalmadi, who has wasted thousands of crores of taxpayers money while disorganizing the Colonial Games. Delhiites are paying for it with tax increases in diesel, cooking gas, kitchen utensils etc.

Or such losers as KPS Gill (there is a sport called Hockey) or Arun Jaitley (Delhi Cricket) ... this Jaitley built the worst cricket stadium in the country. Players incl Sehwag and Gambhir were so put off by favoritism in team selection that they wanted to play for Haryana!

Shashi Tharoor turned out to be yet another corrupt politician who wanted to make some quick buck (70 crores) for his friend. He was caught with his pants down by Lalit Modi and the Congress govt rather uncharacteristically has fired Tharoor with due inquiry and haste. And the authorities are investigating the folks who paid 70 crores to Tharoor's friend. What is there to complain?

>> if that means disbanding IPL, so be it.

any idea how much employment and business opportunities, ipl has created? ask the guys selling stuff to the people standing in Qs to enter the stadia.

Imagine if the iLeague (football) or the PHL (Premier Hockey League) get as much traction as IPL. How much employment (for players, broadcasters, merchandise makers/sellers, street vendors, ground staff) will that create? Why put a spoke in all this with baseless allegations against IPL?


And finally, as a free market capitalist, nothing is more sacred to me than 'opportunities to create wealth'. Thats the panacea for most ills plaguing mankind and especially Indians. IPL has created real economic value. The typical Indian cynicism and the inherent socialist urge to vilify corporates, shud not be allowed to besmirch an institution based on wild accusations. What kind of losers ask for nationalization of a franchise run sports entity?

For all my rant, Lalit Modi may indeed be a corrupt businessman, or BJP vs Congress vs NCP politics maybe at work. But as of this moment, IPL does seem above board. And anyway its the job of the Enforcement Directorate to find irregularities, if any. Let them do it.


Anonymous said...

1.Well what I meant was "Betting" - not "Match fixing". It was a mistake from my side. I am sure you know betting happens very differently in cricket today. It does not happen by throwing matches

2. :-). Why the altruist Modi did not reveal about RR and its holding pattern. Yday there was a news about Bidding papers going missing. I know these are allegations. However I am ready to classify them "Wild"

3. This is a perfect case of conflict of interest. "I will be the one that awards contract, I will be the one that takes and my people are the one that approves". In such a scenario, problems cannot be resolved with in IPL or perhaps within even BCCI. An outsider, in this case the Government, will pitch in. There are reports how a company close to Modi got 10 % of earnings of BCCI (not the franchisees) as management fees is IPL1

4. Modi's (not a direct one , of course) holdings on 3 teams are already being talked about. His interest on Videocon and Adani group getting is a major contention point now. Shashi Tharoor indeed talked about that.

We can get into nitty-gritties of whether someone like BCCI is "answerable to people" or not. If you go by your definition, not even union minister is answerable to people as he is answerable only to Parliament. "Answerable to people" should not be taken literally bur rather it should be taken as "they should be ready for public scrutiny".

Converting this problem into Modi Vs Tharoor or Capitalism Vs Socialism is incorrect. There are allegations about irregularities and they need to be probed.

5. Honestly, I am unclear how much employment (direct and indirect) IPL would have created. I am unsure how such things are measured either. I am not so positive about the models used for measuring such details.

I am also unsure Modi is guilt or not. I feel prima-facie there is a strong case against him

Anonymous said...

Your cricket posts always suck and no wonder why this one does!

1. Match fixing doesn't need to be done by the team owners. Do you think BCCI was involved in Match fixing when Azhar got caught. It's upto the individuals in the team. But in this case accusation was Modi knew about Match fixing and he helped it!

2. Modi is responsible for this along with the ED. Modi made a deal with the Franchise and allowed part of the money to come from outside sources (Benami), but it was showed in accounts that Franchise poured in all the money!

3. Some of these earnings doesn't go to Mallya or Ambani's pocket Idiot. It was suppposed to go to BCCI and this guy rerouted to his pocket!

4. Benami mentioned above is Modi's relatives. They didn't get the stakes through proper bidding. It was like get the money from outside sources and kick the money back to his pocket through his relatives!

5. They are answerable to people as they earn through their passion and interests! IPL's books are not transparent and lots of frauds are accounted into it.

6. MODI should go - Obviously!

WTF IPL will be without Modi. In India anyone can organize a cricket match. Speically if it's T20 even the housewives will come to the fore.

Is the International matches conducted by Modi? Doesn't people come to watch those matches?

T20 will definately pull the crowd, money even if some dumb ass (KPS Gill, Suresh Kalmadi) runs the show.

Don't relate Hockey or CWG with cricket and that too T20. Even if show the T20 match in peak summer without proper stands in the stadium people will come to watch the match unlike Hockey or CWG. Even if you show the matches in Air COnditioned stadium people won't come.