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Professional engagement distinct from commercial interest: SC


New Delhi, Jan 22:

The Supreme Court Thursday sought to make a distinction between the commercial interest and the professional engagement during its judgment of the 2013 IPL betting and spot fixing case.

Supreme CourtThe court was addressing the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) contention that if N. Srinivasan suffers disqualification on account of “conflict of interest”, the same should apply for the players who are engaged as coaches, mentors, commentators or similar other positions.

Saying that it was not an issue worth considering, the apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla said, “Whether or not players engaged as mentors, coaches, managers or commentators in connection with the events for remuneration payable to them will also be ineligible for any such assignment does not directly fall for our consideration in these proceedings.”

“That apart, it may well be argued that there is a difference between commercial interest referred to in Rule 6.2.4 and a ‘professional engagement’ of a player on account of his proficiency in the game”, the court said.

It may be logically contended that the engagement of a player even though made on a remuneration remains a professional engagement because of his professional skills in the game of cricket and not because he has made any investment like India Cements Ltd. has done in acquiring an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise or in any other form.

Making the distinction between commercial interest and players’ engagements, the court said: “There is no doubt that the investment made by India Cements Ltd. is a business investment, no matter in a sporting activity.”

“To the extent the business investment has come from India Cements Ltd. promoted by Mr. Srinivisan and his family. India Cements and everyone connected with it as shareholders acquire a business/commercial interest in the IPL events organised by BCCI.”

India Cements Ltd. is the owner of IPL team Chennai Super Kings. (IANS)