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Conflict of interest: World hockey body exposes N Srinivasan's defence

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Conflict of interest: World hockey body exposes N Srinivasan's defence
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N Srinivasan dragged Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and a few others to defend himself in the conflict of interest issue in the Supreme Court recently. However, not a single cricket legend raised his voice against the suspended BCCI president.

That was not all. Last week, Srinivasan's counsel cited the International Hockey Federation's (FIH) policy, saying "such a thing is common in several sports bodies, including FIH and the world football body, FIFA".
Srinivasan's counsel cited the conflict of interest guidelines framed by FIH to argue that this did not prevent an administrator from contesting elections in sporting bodies. He used the names of the cricketers, associated with both the BCCI and IPL, while defending his client who is BCCI president as well as CSK owner.

On Friday, FIH strongly refuted the allegations and has sought to clarify that it requires its officials to make their interests formally known under the world body's 'Conflict of Interest Policy and Guidelines'.
"Under the FIH policy, all members of staff and the executive board and any committee or body appointed by the FIH are required to avoid any actual or potential conflict of interest between their personal and official interests and activities," the FIH statement said.

"The policy contains very thorough examples where a conflict of interest may arise and requires all individuals covered by the policy to submit a declaration immediately following their appointment in respect of all interests which might result in a conflict of interest. Our policy contains robust procedures for managing any actual or potential conflict that does arise including, as a minimum, a prohibition on any individual with a conflict of interest voting on the relevant issue(s)," the statement added.

When dna contacted Srinivasan's counsel, he held his ground, saying, "We wanted the BCCI to also have rules and regulations with respect to 'conflict of interest'. There was no criticism of the FIH at any point and we just cited their policy on the issue and we apparently cited the policy of FIH and expressed a desire that BCCI should also draft a policy like this. Unfortunately, BCCI doesn't have such a policy."

Interestingly, the special bench of Justice TS Thakur and FM Kalifullah had refused to accept the FIH rules as a line of defence against the conflict of interest issue while hearing the arguments on betting and spot-fixing in the IPL.
Now that Srinivasan's own defence has fallen flat, it will be interesting to see what happens next.
 

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