ICC revamp

SLC questions legality of proposals

Daniel Brettig

February 6, 2014

Comments: 74 | Text size: A | A

Jayantha Dharmadasa after being appointed SLC president, Colombo, April 16, 2013
File photo - According to Jayantha Dharmadasa, the "contribution-cost" revenue model is in contravention of the ICC's constitution © AFP
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Sri Lanka's board president Jayantha Dharmadasa has followed up SLC's publicly stated objection to resolutions for vast changes to cricket's global revenue sharing and governance by openly questioning the legality of the proposal and the manner of its creation in a letter to the ICC.

The correspondence, obtained by ESPNcricinfo, was sent to the ICC's head of legal affairs Iain Higgins on February 5, after a special meeting of the Sri Lanka board's stakeholders voted unanimously against the revised proposals presented to the ICC directors. It outlines numerous serious queries about the manner in which the resolutions have been brought to the board table. They are due to be voted on at a meeting of all Full Members in Singapore on Saturday.

Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa have each raised formal objections to the proposals, with CSA previously describing them as "fundamentally flawed". Dharmadasa has taken a similar tack in his letter, outlining how the draft proposal and subsequent resolutions had contravened the ICC's own constitution.

Specific targets include the notion of a "contribution cost" running contrary to the provision for equal revenue stipulated by the ICC's constitution. More than once, Dharmadasa asks whether the ICC is comfortable and confident that the process by which the many changes have arisen is in line with the governing body's regulations, while raising the matter of whether board members had been granted sufficient time to review the sweeping changes that will result from the proposal.

"Sri Lanka Cricket has received legal advice from its Legal Advisory Committee to the effect that these purported 'Resolutions' are in fact not valid resolutions in law," Dharmadasa wrote. "Pursuant to your invitation for us to contact you in the event of us having issue with the same, we write to seek clarification from you, as Head of Legal of the ICC.

"In any event, as Head of Legal of the ICC, you are duty bound to ensure that any Purported Resolutions that are placed before the Members are done in accord with the constitutional documents of the ICC, and we would in that context request that you furnish us with the clarifications requested below as a matter of extreme urgency."

A major strand of the letter raises the matter of whether or not the new revenue model, based upon a "contribution" calculation defies the ICC constitution's expectation of equal sharing of revenue from ICC events. This element of the proposal was critical to India's agreement to it, after the BCCI repeatedly refused to sign the existing Members Participation Agreement (MPA) for the next television rights period on the basis that it was entitled to a greater share.

The letter states that the ICC's Memorandum of Association features "entrenched provisions" around the distribution of funds to members. These declare that 75% of surplus revenue must be distributed equally among the Full Members, and "the costs payable by the Council out of its revenues shall be allocated as to 75% thereof equally among the Full Members".

Under the proposal, this distribution model would be replaced by a "contribution costs" model in which each nation is granted a percentage of revenue based upon numerous factors including on-field results, historical contribution to the game and off-field revenue-raising power. This calculation happens to place India, England and Australia, the three countries who devised the proposal, in the top three positions of entitlement.

Dharmadasa's objection is based upon the fact that this model is in contravention of the ICC's own constitution. He also noted that the proposed "Test Cricket Fund" designed to help the other seven nations to stage Test matches in circumstances when they might be expected to lose money was similarly flawed.

Other matters covered by the letter include the implementation of the ExCo board with three permanent members from India, England and Australia, and the matter of a new FTP agreed upon by a series of bilateral arrangements, rather than the overarching ICC blueprint that currently exists. Dharmadasa raised the question of what was to become of existing deals struck between member nations under the terms of the FTP.

"The purported Resolutions seek to impose wide changes to the FTP, essentially by doing away with the current FTP Scheme and permitting the individual Boards to contract with each other," Dharmadasa wrote. "You would be aware that contracts that have already been entered into by individual Members on the basis of the existing ICC Executive Board approved FTP, including Sponsorship Contracts and Broadcasting Contracts for which such Members have committed and already received monies.

"We seek confirmation that you have considered the legality of this, and have advised the ICC of its potential liability to indemnify any Members that may be caused loss and damage in this regard."

N Srinivasan, the president of the BCCI, and Wally Edwards, the chairman of Cricket Australia, have both defended the proposals, stating that they are designed to end an era of considerable dysfunction at ICC level while also providing better incentives for each cricket-playing nation to improve themselves, rather than relying on the ICC's distributions to stay afloat.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by VisBal on (February 7, 2014, 16:04 GMT)

@EashwarSai: I had posted the data from Statsguru on another page related to the proposals. India are not one of the highest tourists. In fact, over the past three years they are among the teams with the largest number of home series and home matches. Teams that toured more than hosting include the West indies and Pakistan.

Posted by wapuser on (February 7, 2014, 14:28 GMT)

Now let me get this straight. The way to develop and safeguard the future of cricket is to give most of the money earned by all test playing nations to India, Australia and England. Also absolute power in all matters pertaining to international cricket should be vested upon the said nations. However they cannot be held responsible for their actions and their supreme powers cannot be abolished till kingdom come. Also no nation is asured of playing another nation in future unless the encounter is presumed to be a financially lucrative one. Finally, if any nation refuses to endorse these proposals put forward by the 3 nations, economic sanctions and other un official action may be enforced against that nation and they may never play international cricket again. Have I got everything right? Well they sure look very good proposals to me...that is if I am one of the 3 nations proposing these improvements of course!

Posted by hasanjawaid on (February 7, 2014, 14:15 GMT)

This is in response to Naikan's comment on finding a middle path instead of following the equitable distribution of the profit among participating cricket boards. I don't agree with him fully. Promoting cricket at the grass root level and improving infrastructure is the responsibility of a country as there are many political and economics dimensions to it and cricket board alone cannot do much even if it did receive bigger pie of the share. Instead, in my view, ICC should re-consider redefining its scope and help out cricket boards in promoting cricket/improving infrastructure by providing loans, technical expertise (coaches), hosting ICC-U15 and other similar events. However, ICC should be aware that quality cricket, owing to the mindless, commercialized cheap T20s is fast declining and will soon disappear if such tournaments are not reigned in-in preserving the quality of cricket that has been cherished and adored globally.

Posted by kanikandy on (February 7, 2014, 10:41 GMT)

The interest for the game is not based on the Population of that Country or the Number of years that country has been playing cricket.BAN population is about 152 M & Pakistan population is about 185 M.SL Population is about 20 M & SA Population is About 53 M.So Witch Match will1200M indian population be watched by if PAK Vs BaN & SL Vs SA matches being played at the same time. similarly WI Vs NZ & SL Vs Pak are being plyaed at same time will indian spectators watch the WI Vs NZ match since they have been playing cricket for a longer time than Sl or Pak? what will happen if IOC powers & revenue is given to China & Greece & Italy as ICC going to give that to IND,AUS,ENG?

Posted by Neel_123 on (February 7, 2014, 10:30 GMT)

"in sports large populations are already an advantage, not a burden"

Without strong economy and proper funding huge population is NOT an advantage! With equal funding, bigger country has limited infrastructure for development which can cater only to a very small %age of population! You can not just choose random 100 people from each country for training (equal funds) and then expect country with higher population to produce better sportsperson. It is IMPOSSIBLE.

Lack of funding becomes even more severe problem for India as most Indian school lack even the most basic amenities for sports development.

Eg. Indian Hockey: once 8 time Olympic champion, India starts falling behind western countries once expansive Astroturf were made mandatory! No school or college in India could afford it even today. Young Indian players still play hockey on grass fields where dribbling is more important aspect than 'passing'. Funding for top 30-50 players is mostly useless until schools get Astros!

Posted by Wacky_Cric_Lover on (February 7, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

Biggest democracy in the world going for the biggest undemocratic set up in ICC.

Posted by kentjones on (February 7, 2014, 8:02 GMT)

@InsideHedge, Well my dear friend, if such 'reality' becomes cricket present, then true cricket followers worst fears would be 'realised':that the game's future is doomed!

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 7, 2014, 7:34 GMT)

@KentJones: Superb comments but I think you'll agree that Jefferson was no fool. The Mahatma's quote is romantic but I fear the reality of life esp in the corporate world is more in tune with Jefferson.

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 7, 2014, 7:32 GMT)

@Albert_Campbell: You can hardly call NZ playing some ODIs in Florida as helping the USA. What you're cleverly not seeing is the sizeable amount of money generated by a fanbase in India that goes towards assisting numerous other boards, incl CSA.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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