In a major decision, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) paved the way for the entry of ex-Indian Cricket League (ICL) players numbering over 75 in the third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting on March 12 at Hyderabad.
The Board took this decision at its all-powerful Working Committee meeting in Mumbai that also approved a whopping increase in the prize money for Ranji Trophy champions and a grant of Rs 25 crore to the All India Football Federation spread over two years.
"The ex-ICL players who have been granted amnesty [numbering 79] are eligible to play the IPL in the next season (2010) with a cap on the payment being a maximum of Rs 20 lakh," BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan said in a media statement.
But apparently there is a rider to this green signal which has not been spelt out officially but was confirmed by other BCCI sources, who said no player against whom match-fixing charges have been levelled (by ICL), notably ex-international Dinesh Mongia of Punjab, would be allowed to take part in the cash-rich T20 event.
"Players against whom match-fixing chargers are there would not be allowed to play in IPL," the sources said after the meeting.
The winners of the Ranji Trophy in the coming season would get Rs two crore, Rs 1.4 crore more than what Mumbai got for clinching the title for the 38th time last season. The runners-up would get Rs 1 crore and the losing semi finals Rs 50 lakh each.
In another important decision, the Board decided to assist All India Football Federation (AIFF) "for the development of football" in the country.
The Working Committee decided to give the AIFF a sum of Rs 25 crore, half to be given this year and half in the next.
This came in the wake of a letter written by AIFF acting president Praful Patel to the BCCI requesting for this sum which was, in turn, recommended by the Finance Committee headed by Rajiv Shukla to the Working Committee for its approval.
The Board has nominated Bangalore umpire Shavir Tarapore and Ahmedabad's Amish Saheba for the International Cricket Council (ICC)'s International Panel while naming Sanjay Hazare of Baroda as the TV umpire.
Tarapore has edged out former Rajasthan cricketer Suresh Shastri from the panel, but no Indian umpire has as yet been named in the ICC's Elite Panel.
The BCCI Working Committee also decided to set up specialised coaching centres in Mumbai (batting), Mohali (fast bowling) and Chennai (spinners and wicketkeepers) from September.
Specialist coaches will be appointed on an annual retainership at each of the centres.
The Working Committee also approved in principle the setting up of an Umpires' Academy.
Among other decisions, umpires and coaches will get Rs 7,500 per match day, while Rs 3,750 will be deposited to their Benevolent Fund. Umpire, coaches and match referees (IPL excepted) will be paid Rs 10,000 per match-day.
The team and support staff that won the Emerging Players tournament in Australia will be paid a bonus of Rs 1 lakh each.
The National Cricket Academy's coaching manual, written by Australia's Doug Ackerley and containing foreward by the Academy's chairman Ravi Shastri and introduction by its Director (Operations) Dav Whatmore, was released by BCCI president Shashank Manohar.
Image: Board of Control for Cricket in India president Shashank Manohar
Photograph: Sanjay Sawant