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Don't reject Woolf report - Sutherland

Daniel Brettig

February 17, 2012

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

James Sutherland speaks to members of the media as it is announced that up to 1,300 cricket fans who bought Ashes tickets on Internet auction sites could find themselves stung when they turn up to Test matches, Melbourne, August 31, 2006
James Sutherland: "I think there is a lot of really good stuff there and sensible stuff about best practice governance." © Getty Images

The ICC executive board would be "silly" to simply reject the recommendations of the Woolf report on cricket's global governance as a result of Indian objections, the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has said.

Cricket's global governors were initially silent on the findings of the report, which recommended vast changes to the ICC's executive board structure while also offering a wide range of measures to improve its conduct. The first to speak was the BCCI president N Srinivasan, who emerged from a meeting in Chennai to say his board's working committee had rejected it. England board officials are also understood to have expressed reservations about Woolf's findings.

Despite India's position as the game's undisputed power-base, Sutherland said it would be hasty to presume that the report was now destined for the ICC's dustbin, and encouraged ICC executive board members to strive for best governance practice when they met again in April.

"Cricket Australia's view on that is the members of the board of the ICC have commissioned this review, it has got some recommendations about what's best practice and from that viewpoint it would be silly to just throw it out," Sutherland said in Sydney. "No organisation should be satisfied that it can't improve in some way by taking on recommendations to bring us closer to best practice.

"I think there is a lot of really good stuff there and sensible stuff about best practice governance and that is what any cricket organisation, any proper organisation, would want. There's also some practicalities of course in getting from one step to the next and they're the challenges the directors and ultimately the members will need to tackle."

Before the next ICC executive board meeting is a chief executives committee gathering in Dubai in March, at which Sutherland will be present. While Sutherland said he would not be surprised if the Woolf report did not actually reach the official agenda of that meeting, he was in little doubt that its findings and their implications would be mulled over at length by global chief executives.

But, in the end, the matter lies primarily with the executive board, he said. "It's a [executive] board issue first and foremost. As I understand it, the board received the report and didn't really have much discussion on it in the [previous] meeting; their next meeting is some time in April, so that is really the next stage. Cricket Australia will discuss it a little bit at our board meeting on the 27th - that is something that will be a little bit of a process."

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

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Posted by   on (February 20, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

Self interest and not the good of cricket as a whole seems to be the operating credo of the BCCI. "Whatever it is, we are against it"

Posted by Dashgar on (February 18, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

The fact of the matter is that the Woolf report was designed to show the ICC what would be the best and fairest way to operate. The fact that it isn't the best for India or Australia or England is irrelevant to the report. But this doesn't mean these countries should just throw the report out. Sutherland is right that the recommendations should be seriously looked at, even if you don't do every one. I don't find it at all surprising that India rejected the report but they will only increase the "us and them" mentality by rejecting every principle of it without consideration or debate. India may currently hold the most power in cricket but they are still part of the cricket community and should do what is best for cricket. This shouldn't be an issue of England and Australia against India, and it shouldn't be an issue of making as much money as possible, it should be about all countries working together to make CRICKET stronger.

Posted by realist1 on (February 18, 2012, 2:36 GMT)

Anyone surprised by that???

Posted by indres on (February 17, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

India generates most of the cricket revenues. BCCI wants to keep most of it. I don't know why people esp. those in the West find that surprising.

Until the Indian cricket viewing public start to demand better, any outside changes are going to be superficial. As such, cricket is entertainment for the vast majority of them, much like the Indian movie genre which has worked and hence not changed for 50 years.

Posted by crikbuff on (February 17, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

Can anyone think of a single constructive change in cricket administration that BCCI has introduced or accepted?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (February 17, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

This comment by Oz CEO, James Sutherland, just might be the start of a seismic change in the governace of the ICC. It's about time that someone stood up to the BCCI that has been out of step with the majority of test playing countries over several important issues like the DRS over the last year or so. The arrogance of the BCCI president, N Srinivasan, has been well established & certainly he's not interested in any report on India's total inability to compete in Test matches away from India. It's just not worth his time, no matter what the fans may think or want. So, there's no surprise in his knee-jerk response to the Woolf Report; it represents an opportunity for change and no autocrat ever liked that! Then there is the myth, perpetrated by the BCCI, that the world cricket cannot exist without their investment. Really? I am quite sure that internat. cricket would not implode without BCCI $$s. Pay4 view TV is probably more financially important! Great opportunity for a coup here!

Posted by diddles on (February 17, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

The BCCI may produce 70% of world cricket revenue, that owes little to any good governance by them. Seriously, what is cricket's competitor in the professional sports market in India?!? That's right, nothing.It's like owning the only pub in Sydney...you could be an idiot and still make an incredible fortune. In contrast, sports administrators in England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand operate in a far more competitive sports markets and for that reason some competence is necessary of its administrators. In Australia, if our administrators operated like many of mugs in India, they would be drummed out the game quickly...here, cricket has to compete with the rugby codes, Australian football, soccer, olympic sports, etc for media attention, sponsorship, and public attention. As a cricket fan, it makes sense to make use the best administrators to run and develop our game across the world. Real cricket lovers should want our game well governed, not just run for the benefit of India

Posted by   on (February 17, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

"I know cricinfo management will not post my comment."

The story is quite simple. BCCI does not want to let india drop to the position that it deserves based on their quality. They just want to keep it at the top of world cricket by just using BCCI power instead of improving the quality and playing fair. Woolf report is asking them to free the ICC from their unfair influence. HOW CAN THEY DO THAT?

Cricinfo management is also from india. If they let this comment appear to the public, that will be surprisingly a fair act from them.

Posted by AidanFX on (February 17, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

I don't know much about the Wolf reports so I can't comment in favour or not. But it does seem typical of the BCCI to reject it in its entirety.

Posted by satish619chandar on (February 17, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

I feel administration changes are actually need to be addressed by the members and not the committee.. The changes to game and improve it can be told by any commission.. No country will be happy when such things come up in their tenure and limit their functioning.. If at all the countries need to change organization functions, they can come up with points to the member nations and discuss with them.. Not sure of the fuss on BCCI as England too rejected the report(By saying reservations).. Anywhere in the world, the guy who provides 70% or more to run the company is treated with red carpet.. But only in cricket, they are blasted for each and everything they do to the game.. It is really tough to be BCCI!!

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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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