Irrespective of market sentiment, or the pandemic, the Indian cricket board’s wealth is growing. And, now, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) net worth is a colossal Rs.18,011.84 crore.
During the financial year 2020-21, when two waves of Covid-19 crippled the country and much of the world, the net worth of the BCCI grew by a mind boggling Rs.1,594.67 crore. It is the world’s richest national cricket organisation.
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At the end of the 2019-20 financial year, the BCCI’s net worth was Rs.16,417.17 crore and at close of the FY 2020-21, when Corona badly hit businesses and jobs all around, the Board broke fresh ground and crossed the Rs.18,000 crore mark, as per the 2020-21 balance sheet, accessed by NewsClick.
Of the BCCI’s net worth of Rs.18,011.84 crore, as at March 31, 2021, the ‘general fund’ was at Rs.4,329.57 crore, the ‘earmarked funds’ stood at Rs.3,558.20 crore and ‘current liabilities and funds’ was Rs.10,124.07 crore.
Overall, in 2020-21 the BCCI earned an income of Rs.2,658.20 crore (the corresponding figure in 2019-20 was Rs.3,366.11 crore) and its expenditure was a mere Rs.808.06 crore (compared to Rs.2,176.77 crore the previous year). While the BCCI earned Rs.707.91 crore less in 2020-21, its expenditure also reduced massively.
The difference was largely due to the pandemic that prevented many domestic tournaments from being organised, apart from several other cricketing activities. This enabled the BCCI to save a lot of money. Also, the IPL was moved out to the country due to the raging Corona pandemic in India and staged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The relocation of the league led to huge savings for the board.
As in previous years, the BCCI’s most fertile and constant source of income during the 2020-21 financial year, too, was the Indian Premier League (IPL). The 2020 edition of the tournament, played between September 19 and November 10 in the UAE, fetched the Board a surplus of Rs.1,522.01 crore.
Interestingly, when the 2019 IPL was staged in India it had generated a lesser surplus – only Rs.1,239.18 crore. One of the major reasons for more earnings from the 2021 tournament was that there were only three venues in the UAE as against at least eight in India. That meant less travel – teams travelled by road to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah in the UAE – and other expenses associated with the travel.
The income from grant of media rights is the other big fountain of income for the BCCI. However, unlike the IPL, the Board in 2020-21 earned less than half of what it had generated in 2019-20. While in 2019-20, it was richer by Rs.1,128.29 crore, in 2020-21 the income was only Rs.558.43 crore due to lesser number of international matches played at home.
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Since the BCCI has a lot of money parked in fixed deposits in other accounts, it fetches a lot of interest money – another big source of income – every year. In 2019-20, it earned Rs.322.16 crore as interest money and the corresponding figure in 2020-21 was Rs.232.80 crore.
The BCCI’s “balance” too has gone up as per the 2020-21 data. It is now Rs.3,977.05 crore while in 2019-20 it was Rs.3,906.88 crore.
Tax issues have been a constant thorn in the side for the BCCI. Despite a recent ruling by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal that the board was entitled to tax exemption under Section 12AA of the Income Tax Act 1961, and that the IPL income was not commercial, several other tax-related issues need resolution. According to the 2020-21 balance sheet, the BCCI has so far paid Rs.9,246.58 crore in taxes. This figure has been listed under the heading “tax deducted at source receivable/tax paid under protest”. At the end of the 2019-20 financial year, the corresponding figure was Rs.8,175.80 crore. The balance sheet also lists Rs.6,833.97 crore as “cash and bank” for 2020-21; the previous year’s figure was Rs.6,905.83 crore.
While its income continues to be handsome, the BCCI also spends a certain percentage on cricketing and other activities, such as sharing income with affiliated state associations. As per the income tax rules, the BCCI has to show as expenditure 85 percent of its receipts every year. The Board spent Rs.286.97 crore on cricketing activities in 2020-21, excluding men’s senior international tours/tournaments. The previous year’s figure was Rs.723.07 crore. In 2020-21, the BCCI distributed Rs.369.35 crore to state units; In the previous year the figure stood at Rs.1,169.77 crore.
Through the media rights, a fertile source of earning, the BCCI garners Rs.60.18 crore per home game, be it a Test match, a One-day International, or a T20 International. So, when there are more matches at home, the BCCI earns more. And the 2021-22 home season is going to be a bumper one, Corona/Omicron permitting, as 16 international matches are scheduled. After the just concluded five-match series against New Zealand, the West Indies will visit India for three ODIs and three T20 Internationals in February, followed by Sri Lanka, who will play two Tests and three T20 Internationals. It will mean that the BCCI would make another killing in 2021-22, provided the pandemic doesn’t strike back.
(The author is a cricket reporter based in New Delhi who has covered the sport for over three decades)
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