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CAB acts to weed out age-fudging

Calcutta: The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has cracked the whip, finally.

On Thursday, the CAB decided to suspend 13 coaching centres and 42 Under-14 players for one year and two years, respectively, for age-fudging.

Among the 13 coaching centres are Videocon Centre for Excellence and Mainland Sambaran Cricket Academy. While Sourav Ganguly is associated with the former, Sambaran Banerjee runs the latter. Sourav though is not involved with the day-to-day running of the Videocon Centre for Excellence.

The other academies are North Howrah CCC, Calcutta Cricket Academy, P Sen Cricket Academy, Sonarpur Sporting, Bulan Cricket Academy, Howrah Sammilani, PC Ghoshal CCC, 22 yards Cricket Academy, Sports Lovers Assocation, Belgharia Athletic Coaching Centre and Srishti Cricket Academy.

“It’s a landmark decision. Nobody is above the law… Even though some of the popular cricket centres were involved we decided to act tough,” CAB joint secretary Subir Ganguly said, after the cricket committee meeting, on Thursday.

“The 42 banned players will not be allowed to play in any of the age-group tournaments of the CAB, but will be eligible to play in the CAB leagues,” he said.

“We had called all the erring players and their parents and the concerned coaching centres over the past three months and have come to this conclusion. We cannot treat age-fudging with kid-gloves… It’s a serious matter and had to be dealt with strongly,” cricket committee chairman Samar Paul said.

The CAB, in early September, had revealed that as many as 49 players, who participated in the Under-14 Ambar Roy cricket tournament, were found over-aged. The issue snowballed into a huge controversy and the CAB drew a lot of flak for its inability to stem the rot.

The CAB, on Thursday, decided that from next year onwards it would be the coaching centres’ responsibility to make sure they didn’t field over-aged players. And if they were caught, the centre and the coach would be suspended for 10 years and the concerned player for life.

“This time the coaches went scot-free because CAB had no role when an academy appointed a coach.

“But from next year only level A coaches will be allowed to coach a cricket academy. So he also will be held responsible,” Ganguly said.

Snehasish Ganguly, one of the directors in Videocon Centre for Excellence, said he was yet to go through the report. “I haven’t got the report, yet. But what was the CAB doing? Didn’t they have their own age-verification set-up? Was it in a state of slumber?

“The CAB cannot run away from the responsibility. As far appeal against the decision goes, I am not yet sure of our next course of action,” Snehasish said.

Former Bengal captain Sambaran Banerjee incidentally was a member of the cricket committee, before the over-age controversy came out of the closet. “I fully support the CAB’s decision,” he said.