The Cricket Association of Bengal cricket committee on Thursday banned 42 age-group cricketers and 13 cricket coaching centres for age fraud in the Under-14 Ambar Roy sub-junior event, held earlier this year. Caught in this net were big name clubs like Videocon SC Cricket Academy (a side that has Sourav Ganguly as a board member) and Mainland Sambaran Cricket Academy (the Sambaran Banerjee side).
Videocon Academy were found to have fielded four overage cricketers, while former Bengal captain and national selector Banerjee’s Mainland Sambaran are said to have fielded three overage players.
“We recorded statements of every player, their guardians and coaches and have taken a unanimous decision to ban the offenders. All players are banned from playing in the CAB-organised age-group tournaments for two years, while the coaching centres get a one-year sanction. We had to give them exemplary punishments,” cricket committee chairman Samar Paul said. “The players and coaching centres, however, can appeal to the working committee,” he added.
Asked about the CAB decision, Ganguly’s elder brother Snehashis, who is also on the Videocon board, said: “Can’t comment without going through the papers. But I’ve a question. The CAB went through the medical certificates, approving the age, provided by the coaching centres. They also did the verification. Aren’t they responsible as well?”
When CAB was asked about their verification, joint-secretary Subir Ganguly said: “We categorically told the cricket academies that they would be held responsible if discrepancies were found in the players’ birth certificates. We verified the age certificates with Kolkata Corporation and different municipalities and glaring anomalies were found. We had to act.”
According to CAB’s join-secretary, the body has chosen to be lenient on these offenders this time around since it was the first such incident to come to the administrators’ notice. “Today we’ve approved a rule that will allow us to ban the players for life and coaches and coaching centres for 10 years if mistakes are repeated,” he said.
The rule will come into effect from 2014 onwards.