Virat Kohli a ‘talent’ just like other players we manage: Agency rubbishes Conflict of Interest allegations

Player management company, Cornerstone on Monday refuted allegations of ‘Conflict of Interest’ surrounding Virat Kohli, saying the India captain is a ‘contracted and exclusive client’ of the company just like the other cricketers it manages.

The company, in a strongly-worded statement, said Virat Kohli’s name is being dragged into “absurd allegations” and they are entirely based on anything but facts.

The statement from Cornerstone comes after Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Ethics Officer Justice DK Jain confirmed he has received a complaint alleging Conflict of Interest against Virat Kohli. The complaint was filed by Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association life member Sanjay Gupta but the India skipper is yet to receive any notice from the cricket board.

In his complaint, Gupta has alleged that Kohli is conflicted as he occupies two posts — captain of the Indian team and director of 2 ventures wherein his co-directors are associated with Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment Private Limited which has several India cricketers, including Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja among others.

Gupta has alleged that it is a violation of the BCCI constitution which bars one individual from holding multiple positions.

Virat is a contracted, exclusive client: Cornerstone

“This is with reference to the recent “conflict of interest” speculations surrounding Virat and Cornerstone. It is unfortunate to repeatedly see Virat’s name being dragged into absurd allegations every now and then. Such speculations are based entirely on conjecture, nothing more,” Cornerstone CEO Bunty Sajdeh said.

“Virat is a contracted, exclusive client of Cornerstone exactly like the rest of our esteemed talent roster. And as a responsible agency, we once again reiterate that there is no question of any conflict of interest with Virat or any other of our talent for that matter.

“But third parties with whatever vested interests prefer to think otherwise.

“I request them to simply check all facts before jumping to their own conclusions.

“We carry out our business in a very professional and transparent manner which can be easily verified from the documents filed with public authorities from time to time. This is all we have to say on this matter once and for all.”

Sanjay Gupta has filed conflict of interest complaints against Indian cricketing greats Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Kapil Dev in the past. The complaints were rendered ‘infructuous’ but the legendary players had to give up one of their roles.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has been vocal against Conflict of Interest norms, prescribed by the Lodha Committee.

Speaking at India Today Conclave East in December 2019, Ganguly said common sense is needed to address Conflict issues in Indian cricket.

“Common sense in conflict issues is needed. If you look at it that way, everything is conflict. You’re not being able to have quality people in the administration. CAC meets once in 3 years for the selection of the coach and the advisory committee doesn’t have any role to do,” Ganguly had said.

“Anybody who would want to remain attached with the game would not be a part of it. Because for one meeting, you wouldn’t want to lose other opportunities for your entire career. I think it’s going to be practical. It’s really got to remain only with administrators. Cricketers should be left out of it.”

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