ICC moves to reduce role of president
The ICC's executive board has recommended re-defining the role of its president, reducing its powers and creating a new position of 'chairman,' after a two-day meeting in Dubai.
The ICC board, made up of the heads of Full Member boards, passed a unanimous resolution that the presidency become an "ambassadorial" role on a rotational basis from 2014. The board also recommended that under its new amendments, the chairman, and not the president, lead the board. These proposed changes mean the ICC would have to "consider the position and role, if any, of the ICC vice-president between 2012 and 2014."
In a media release after the meeting, the board said its recommendation regarding the presidency was "consistent with recommendations in the Woolf Report." The amendments to the ICC's Articles of Association required to effect these changes will be discussed by the executive board at its next meeting in April, before being submitted for approval at the annual conference in June.
Sharad Pawar is presently the ICC president and his tenure will end in June 2012. He will be succeeded by Alan Isaac, the ICC vice-president, nominated by New Zealand and Australia. The board was expected to discuss the nomination of Mustafa Kamal, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president, to succeed Isaac as vice-president. According to the ICC's constitution, this would have led to Kamal becoming president in 2014. The recommendations, if approved, could strike out the role of president-elect (vice-president) and affect Kamal's ambitions to head the ICC.
Kamal, however, said he was not disappointed that his nomination was now uncertain. "Why should I be disappointed," Kamal told AFP. "The board had been thinking along the lines of these recommendations for some time now and we have found the best possible solution in the meeting of the board, of which I am a part. I can still be the president in the post-2014 period."
When Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief-executive, was asked whether splitting the role might be aimed at placating the stronger Member boards - allowing them to take over the chairmanship, with the weaker nations taking the ambassadorial role - he said: "The answer is a categoric 'no'. The presidential role is one that will be fulfilled on a rotational basis by every one of the Members and the best man will be elected to lead the board."
Lorgat was also asked whether the new ICC chairman would be one of the current board members - that is the chairman or president of each Full Member board plus three Associate Member representatives. He said: "There is every chance that will be the case and there is every chance that it could be someone from outside. There will be a nominations committee that will determine a process to elect the best man for the job."
Though the issue of international teams visiting Pakistan was not discussed at the board meeting, Lorgat said a "proper assessment" of the security situation was needed before a decision is made. The PCB and the BCB are presently in talks over a proposed tour of Pakistan.
"Safety and security is a serious issue," Lorgat said in reply to a question whether the ICC would send officials to Pakistan. "There are grave responsibilities on any of us who send teams or match officials and we need to do a proper assessment before we come to any conclusion about touring Pakistan. As you all know they are presently engaged with a potential tour from Bangladesh, and I think we need to see what unfolds before we get into that sort of discussion."
The board received a 60-page report on governance from Lord Woolf at the meeting. Woolf, a former chief justice of England and Wales, was appointed chairman of the ICC's Independent Governance Review Committee and submitted a report containing 65 recommendations and a transitional plan. It is understood that, among other issues, Woolf has made suggestions about the election process of the ICC's president and that he has recommended independent board members. The entire document will be published on Thursday, with the ICC board due to review the report and discuss it in detail at its next meeting.
The board also approved a proposal to substantially increase incentives, in the form of prize money, to promote Test cricket in the period before the ICC Test Championship, scheduled for 2017. Previously, the top team in the ICC Test rankings received a cheque for $175,000; from 2013 they will receive a minimum of $450,000, rising to $500,000 in 2015. From 2016 there will be further increases in Test prize money.
A $12m Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme (TAPP) was also approved. TAPP is aimed at developing more competitive teams among Full Members and Associate/Affiliate nations. This assistance could be in the form of grants or loans, or by providing expertise in terms of finance or scheduling.
Other issues covered included a reiteration of the ICC's principle of non-interference in the sport by governments and a condemnation "in the strongest possible terms" of the developments in Guyana, where the government has dissolved the Guyana Cricket Board.
The ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit chairman, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, also presented an independent report by Bertrand de Speville, formerly solicitor general of Hong Kong, commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Hong Kong and advisor to the Council of Europe Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption.
The report contained a total of 27 recommendations. In receiving the recommendations, the board concurred with the preliminary views of Flanagan that seven of the recommendations were either unworkable or unsuitable for cricket. Of the remaining 20, thirteen recommendations were accepted while seven were consistent with current ACSU policy or practice.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo