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India-England Test threat lifted

FUNDS RELEASED

NEW DELHI: India’s cash-rich cricket board yesterday lifted a threat to cancel the start of its Test series against England after judges eased banking restrictions which had triggered a funding crisis. Less than 24 hours before the high-profile series was due to begin in Rajkot, the cash-rich board dropped a bombshell by telling the Supreme Court it would not be able to cover the running costs of the first match. The Supreme Court last month ruled that the board would have to seek prior approval from a special panel investigating its governance in order to release funds to state associations which host Test matches. In a petition filed yesterday to the court, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said that “unless money is disbursed to the board, the match between India and England can’t take place”. After considering the petition for several hours, the court set aside its previous order and gave the board immediate access to the $90,000 (5.8 million rupees) the BCCI said it needed to host the match in Rajkot. The court had slapped the restrictions on the BCCI’s accounts after the board, which is one of the world’s wealthiest sports bodies, failed to implement a series of reforms recommended by a panel headed by a former top judge, Rajendra Mal Lodha. The BCCI had earlier complained that the funding freeze was hampering organisation for a series last month against New Zealand, but the three Tests went ahead as scheduled in the end. —Agencies

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