While the HCA cited allegations of conflict of interest, Azharuddin termed the move "belligerent" posturing with scant regard for the rule of law.

Image of former Indian Cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin File image: PTI
news Hyderabad Cricket Association Friday, June 18, 2021 - 08:41

The Apex Council of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) has "suspended" its own president and former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin, for alleged violation of its constitution. According to the Apex Council of the association, the decision to remove him was 'unanimous', following allegations of conflict of interest that have been levelled against Azharuddin. However, the validity of the suspension can be questioned as only the general body of a state unit has powers to suspend a sitting president and not the Apex Council, five of whose members are already under inquiry by the HCA's Ombudsman.

The HCA Apex Council has been at loggerheads with the former captain and during a recent BCCI Special General Meeting (SGM) wanted Shivlal Yadav as their representative but BCCI intervened, allowing Azharuddin to attend the meeting. The former India skipper termed the move as vendetta against him by the anti-lobby and vowed to fight back.

The HCA suspension notice, a copy of which is with PTI, stated, "After considering the complaints made by the members against you (Azharuddin), it was decided at the Apex Council meeting on the 10th of this month to issue a show-cause notice on the ground that you have acted in violation of the rules. The Apex Council is suspending you and your membership of HCA is being terminated until completion of the inquiry on these complaints."

The Apex Council had also levelled charges of "misconduct" and various acts of "omission and commission" against the batsman. On the conflict of interest charge, the notice stated that Azharuddin has never made a disclosure that he owned a T10 team in Dubai and its in violation with BCCI's constitution with no office-bearer allowed to own any cricketing entity.

"The complaint discloses that you are a mentor of a private cricket club in Dubai by name Northern Warriors which participates in a T10 cricket tournament which is unrecognised by the BCCI. The fact of you being a mentor has not been communicated to the HCA at any time. It is also apparent that you have not communicated the same to the BCCI. Therefore you being a mentor of an unrecognised tournament comes under the ambit of conflict of interest as envisaged under Rule 38 (1) (iii) of the Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations 2018 of HCA," the notice stated.

Azharuddin on his part issued a press release and termed it "belligerent" posturing with scant regard for the rule of law. "Today, the institution of cricket administration itself is under threat by these false narratives being published in the media. Please verify the truthfulness of the information, hear the other side, then take a rational view in line with the HCA constitution before you publish something because the society believes what you write," Azhar said.

Azhar has in fact trained his guns at one of the Apex Council members K John Manoj (a reputed coach) and his faction in the Council. The other four are R Vijayanand, Naresh Sharma, Surender Agarwal, Anuradha. "All their efforts have gone in vain. Their intention to scuttle the appointment of the Ombudsman might be because of the lurking fear that their multiple clubs acquired through manipulation and fraud will be exposed and they may lose their valuable property-the cash cow that sucks the blood of cricketers from a 14-year old boy to a 23-year old youngster aspiring to realise their dreams," the statement added.

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