Australia news April 24, 2012

CA expects independent directors by October

Cricket Australia is expected to move to a smaller board featuring some independent directors in October, despite objections from the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA). A fully independent board is likely to be introduced in 2015, meaning that within three years the state associations will almost certainly have no representation at CA board level.

The plan is part of CA's response to the Crawford-Carter review into the organisation's governance. A new financial model that would see CA take control of all internationals played in Australia has also been proposed. Board reform was one of the key recommendations from the governance review, which suggested the end to the archaic system in which some states held greater power than others.

The two-stage plan, discussed at a CA board meeting in Melbourne on Tuesday, is based around introducing three independent directors to work alongside six state-appointed directors - one from each state - at the annual general meeting in October. In 2015, barring any unforeseen hurdles, the six state-appointed directors would be phased out and all nine board members would be independent of official state affiliation, although there would need to be at least one residing in each state.

The existing board structure features 14 directors, all appointed by state boards, with three each from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, two each from Western Australia and Queensland, and one from Tasmania. CA chairman Wally Edwards said South Australia remained reluctant to give up its voice on the board, but approval from five of the six states was enough for the moves to go ahead.

"We didn't get a unanimous position because of this issue of the independent director," Edwards said. "One state is pretty well locked in on wanting to have their own delegated director for all time. That's the one sticking point there, from SACA.

"SACA are against it, I don't want to hide that fact. They're very positive on everything except that the director who would be located in South Australia, they want to be able to appoint him and they want him to be on their board.

"In the end, if five out of the six states agree then it moves forward and Cricket Australia's constitution will be changed to say that directors can't be a member of their state board... it's an issue that SACA will have to come to grips with as well."

The move needs to be approved at a special CA meeting in July, and South Australia's objections would not be enough to prevent it. Should the proposal succeed, a nomination committee consisting of Edwards, two state chairmen and two people who are not part of a board will choose the three independent directors who would take office in October.

The new CA chairman would then be elected at the AGM from those three independent directors and the six directors nominated by the state boards. Edwards said he was confident the changes would be approved and would lead to the total overhaul of the board in 2015 - CA says the two-stage process is a legal obligation - despite the failure of several attempts in past years to revolutionise the unwieldy and inequitable board structure.

"If this goes through in July, we will have achieved a lot," Edwards said. "We will still have one more phase to go and we will still have six appointed directors, but we'll have moved from 14 to nine, all states will be put on an equal footing... there's been a lot of grumpiness about some states being more equal than others. This first step gets rid of all that."

Edwards also said the states had agreed to a new financial model in which each state association would give up the management of international matches in its territory, and in return would be paid a minimum guarantee grant by CA. Edwards said no state would be worse off under the new plan, which he said would "untangle a lot of the very, very complicated... ways of running our business".

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here