BCCI denied customs duty exemption
The BCCI has been denied customs duty exemption on imports by the government of India, in the first direct consequence of its de-recognition as a national sports body.
A government circular from the Ministry of Finance on Monday states that the goods imported by the BCCI or certified as import "are not entitled to any exemption benefit" which is usually available on "sports goods / equipment / consumables" that are imported by national sports federations.
The government had de-recognised the board for its failure to complete the paperwork needed by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as part of its new annual recognition process set up for all national sports federations in India.
In order for a sports federation to be recognised by the government, it must submit details about its electoral process, the duration of the tenure of its officials and a statement of accounts. While the BCCI is not dependant on the Indian government with regards to funding, unlike most other sports federations, it requires government clearances for overseas tours of its teams and also enjoys several benefits relating to tax exemption.
The immediate impact of the Ministry of Finance's ruling would be felt on the World Cup which begins next month. While India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are the three co-hosts of the World Cup, the event organisers are headquartered in the BCCI's office in Mumbai.
A significant amount of the event's publicity and promotional material, the organisers say, is being imported. Some signage is being imported from Germany and corporate and hospitality gifts from China. These include merchandising and sponsors' materials like the 'thundersticks' (the inflatable 'sticks' banged together during games) and signs held up by the crowd after every four or six.
Given that the customs duty in India ranges between 25 and 30%, the withdrawal of the duty exemption would, a tournament organiser said, could well total at "around a million dollars". World Cup organisers, however, are hoping that the government's approval of the event, which are part of their bidding documents, will help them arrive at an amenable settlement.
BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty said the decision would not effect the World Cup. "BCCI was always an autonomous body." Shetty said. "A lot of pressure has been created in the last few months that we should register with the government but there is a different feeling within the BCCI. This decision would not have any bearing on the World Cup."