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Update BCCI gives conditional approval for participation in Olympics
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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has given conditional approval for Indian teams' participation in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. The all-powerful Apex Council of the BCCI decided at its meeting on Friday (April 16) that if the autonomy of the BCCI is not affected, it will allow the men's and women's teams' participation in the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.

The council has also been informed that the BCCI has got the approval for visas of the Pakistan team and its media for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in India in October-November. The Home Ministry will take a call on the permissions for the Pakistan fans, a demand made by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ehsan Mani.

The BCCI has traditionally been wary of the potential influence of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in its functioning should it decide to send the teams to the Olympics. While the Board members have given the go-ahead for the participation in the Olympics in 2028 and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, they have also decided to consult a few associations whose autonomy was preserved despite being an Olympic sport. "We do not want to be bossed over by the IOA, that is the bottom line. We will seek clarity on the roles. The participation is subject to the BCCI's identity and independence not being compromised," a BCCI source told Cricbuzz.

As for the T20 World Cup, allotted to India, the BCCI will continue to consult the Foreign, Home and Finance Ministries on various issues but the board has been informed that the Pakistan team will have no problem taking part in the global event. PCB chief Mani has been demanding at various International Cricket Council forums that the Pakistan media and fans, besides of course, the team should have a free entry into the country for the October-November tournament. While there is clearance for the team and the media, the question of fans is still not decided.

The point of pertinence here is the fact that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have formally agreed to Japan's request that the permission for the travel of foreign fans for the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Games should not be insisted upon. This, however, is no indication on Indian government's decision. A lot will depend on the Covid situation in the country besides of course the diplomatic equation, which seems to be thawing by the day.

Domestic and women's cricket

The Apex Council extensively dealt with domestic cricket in their meeting. According to the initial plan, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament will be held in September-October and the Vijay Hazare Trophy in November. The Ranji Trophy, which could not be staged this year owing to the nationwide Coronavirus situation, is slated to be organized from January-March 2022. The Cooch-Behar Under-19 Trophy will be held from November to January. The women's head coach will be picked by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) consisting of Madan Lal, RP Singh and Sulakshana Naik and the rest of the support staff will be selected by the women selectors.

Permissions for state T20 leagues

As for the request for T20 leagues to be conducted by the State associations, the BCCI has given the green light. Mumbai, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra associations have sought permission to organise state-level T20 leagues. Leagues like TNPL and KPL were previously allowed but permissions were withdrawn after allegation of corruption in these leagues came to the fore. "As long as they are not around the IPL and all anti-corruption and BCCI norms are followed, they can conduct the leagues," the source said.

Telangana, J&K and NCA

Treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal and vice-president Rajiv Shukla will oversee the function of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) as recently ordered by the J&K High Court, while request from a Telangana association for affiliation has been rejected on the principle of 'One State, One Association.' For the record, the Hyderabad Cricket Association comes under Telangana.

The Bihar Cricket Association (BCA), which conducted an unauthorized T20 tournament recently, has been issued a stern warning. The BCCI did not want to go hard on the BCA considering any serious action could result in the suffering of the innocent players.

The BCCI has got good response to the tender floated for the development of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore. Tata, L&T and the Shirke Builders among others are believed to have shown interest to develop the academy that will come up near the airport in Bangalore. It should be completed in 18 months. In another decision, the BCCI has felt that it cannot give affiliation to the differently-abled cricket association as there is no such provision. However, it will approve grants.

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