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FTP may become bilateral arrangement

Sharda Ugra

January 17, 2014

Comments: 51 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni and Alastair Cook walk out for the toss, India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata, 1st day, December 5, 2012
A proposal is seeking to replace the current FTP with "contractually binding bi-lateral agreements" between members © BCCI
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The nature of the ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP), the schedule for top-level international cricket, is set to undergo a sweeping change if proposals from a Financial & Commercial Affairs "working group position paper" are approved. The proposals seek, among other things, to scrap the central FTP agreements between the ICC and its members and replace it with bilateral agreements between member nations.

The draft of the proposals, made available to member nations following a special Board meeting on January 9 in Dubai, seeks to detach the ICC from being involved in scheduling series between member nations. The alternative being recommended is a "series of contractually binding bi-lateral agreements with other full members they wish to play against." The proposal also specifies that "it is up to the full member to enter into as many or as few FTP agreements as they wish." It states that no member should be "forced to play" against another unless bilaterally agreed, or forced to host uneconomic tours with the "content and timing" of all tours being agreed to bilaterally.

It could, if and when it is approved, lead to a radical change in how, and how often, the ICC's Full Members engage with each other.

The reason the FTP is to be removed from central ICC control, according to the position paper, is because "the draft FTP, as it stands, contains a large number of unviable tours."

The document, made available to ESPNcricinfo, recommends the restructuring of the ICC's administration and finances but also centralizes power in the hands of three member boards: Cricket Australia, the BCCI and the ECB. The three boards occupy key positions in the Finance and Commercial Affairs committee and, under the new ICC funding model being proposed, stand to be the top three beneficiaries of revenue distribution.

Other than distribution of revenues from ICC events, the new financial model also proposes the creation and relocation of a new commercial arm of the ICC - called the ICC Business Co (IBC) - with the phasing out of its existing arm, the IDI.

The draft states that the IBC is to be established "immediately" so that it can take charge of the selling a new cycle of ICC media and sponsorship rights for 2015-2023. The document says the incorporation of the IBC has to be completed before the ICC's April Board meeting to ensure "timely launch" of the 2015-2023 media rights tender. The timing of the new ICC financial model coincides with that of the reworked FTP. The draft says the "initial FTP agreements will be entered into at the same time as the introduction of the new ICC financial model in 2014."

Cricket Australia, the ECB and the BCCI it is stated, are "committing" to enter into FTP agreements from 2015 to 2023.

The FTP agreements will be legally binding between members barring a few conditions: force majeure events (natural disasters), material breach by the other party, if the touring team's broadcaster are in legal dispute with the home board's primary media rights holder and no changes in playing conditions unless agreed.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ABKhanISB on (January 22, 2014, 11:02 GMT)

@ starsgap1986

Instead of writing a paragraph, you could have simply said that India could only win if Cricket is played in India. Whitewash by South Africa, Series loss to Pakistan and 2-0 loss to Zealand? I cant believe you have such a club level team

Posted by flickspin on (January 20, 2014, 9:14 GMT)

with the team of the decade hopefully every team will have roughly played the same amount of games say a average of 100 games, but if team 1 plays 90 games and team 2 plays 95 games and team 3 plays 100 games you would work the winner out on averages, but in most cases thier would be a clear winner.

each team plays four series a year minimum, 2 home and 2 away, a minimum of 3 test for most nation, minimum of 2 test for lesser nations

i dont see any problems with australia playing the west indies twice in 10 years( home and a way), i dont see any problems australia playing new zealand twice in 10 years, i dont see any problems with australia playing zimbabwe twice in 10 years. i dont see any problems with australia playing kenya once in 10 years or ireland once in 10 years.( if ireland get beat in 3 days in 2 test who cares) i dont any problems with australia play holland once in ten years. australia can play england,south africa and india 3 times in ten years,

this way cricket grows

Posted by flickspin on (January 20, 2014, 9:00 GMT)

how the team of the decade will work is 10 year draw is worked out 10 years before. you fix the draw so every team has a chance to win with lesser nations playing each more often and the major nations play each other more often

this way the frank worrel trophy( which took australia 15 years to regain) and the chappell hadlee trophy( last series was drawn) alive and kicking in the future.

rather than less test teams you include more test nations like ireland,afghanistan,uae, holland, kenya and namibia.

rather than ashes series every 2 years they happen every 3 years, the border gavaskar trophy every 3 years, and the warne murali trophy might happen every 4 years.the comp would like this

australia play england 3 times in 10 years, they play new zealand twice and bangladesh twice and ireland once

bangladesh may play india twice but ireland 3 time and zimbabwe 3 times.

new zealand might play west indies 3 times australia twice and bangladesh 3 times and and south africa twice so on

Posted by flickspin on (January 20, 2014, 8:40 GMT)

the future tour programs must be enforced and policed with fines for countries who oblige.

rather than 2 tiers and a test championship the icc should replace it with the team of the decade starting in 2020 which gives 5 years to organize.

each test would be worth points( so thier is no dead matches)

im not sure how to allocate points but this is a suggestion

5 points a out right win, 4 point for a innings win, 3 points for a win,2 points for a draw, 1 point for a lose that has 4 innings and makes the game last 5 days.

extra points for a team that makes 500 runs, bonus for bowling a team out 3 days and 4 days, bonus points for games that last 5 days

extra points for teams that wins a series and extra bonus points for team who wins overseas.

it doesent reward teams who have a close draw, instead rewards teams for attacking cricket.

the captain has the option of enforcing the follow on for extra point, when the game looks like a draw the captains will go for a win and so on

Posted by starsgap1986 on (January 20, 2014, 1:53 GMT)

This will be a very bad news for Pakistan as nobody wants to invite them. And as far as the test cricket is concerned its good as long as it's played in countries like India, South Africa, England or Australia. We just witnessed the dullest and lamest form in UAE.

Posted by muzika_tchaikovskogo on (January 19, 2014, 17:26 GMT)

Frankly, I don't think the proposals will make any difference. It will only officialise what is already happening. Series between sides apart from Australia, England and India have long since ceased to exceed 3 tests (the last I can recollect was the 4 test series between West Indies and South Africa in 2005). For once, the blame lies not with the big 3, but the other boards.

Posted by   on (January 19, 2014, 9:51 GMT)

Kudos to ICC for at least being open and clear about it now, if they choose to. I mean the big 3 are already dominating the game,and they already have the right to pick their series. If it becomes official, international cricket will die as with no chance of representing their country in Tests, the other nations will suffer at grass root level. Even presently, God knows what kind of rankings and Test championship qualification are we having with the big 3 dominating the show for more than a decade. India's biggest adherent in recent times Bangladesh is being used by India well against Pakistan esp but the fact remains that India remains the only nation to not have invited Bangladesh yet for a Test tour! In their 13 years as a Test nation BD has toured Aus only once. For almost two years India didn't play a single Test abroad between Jan 2012 and Nov 2013. So how are we having a championship and deciding champions? Lets gt rid of international cricket & concentrate on Big Bash & IPL.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 18:07 GMT)

Qamar Naqvi - You are mistaken. Ranking does not decide who's the boss. It is money. And we all know SA if weaker in that domain. Only boards with monetary hold decides the rules. And BCCI has minted enough money to hav the say for the next 50 Yrs if cricket lasts that long. The game may be promoted by the players but the show is made possible by these business men. Nothing much can be challenged unless if the rest of the boards draw some spine to start their own council and start ignoring the top 3. But the worry is they wouldnt have enuf money to even build their own infrastructure

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 15:16 GMT)

What it also means is that India may not decide to go on foreign tours and call all teams to India. Thus without exposing their weakness on fast pitches, they can beat all other teams at home. England and to a lesser extent Australia may do the same.

Posted by Mr.A2Z on (January 18, 2014, 13:10 GMT)

Are you seriously joking? Big three are already not touring other countries much, the results would be drastic for other test playing nations. Shame on such proposals and ICC..

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 10:52 GMT)

South Africa happens to be No 1 ranked team in the world and South Africa will have NO say in Cricketing Affairs. The joke of the century.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 10:37 GMT)

If it happens, I'm switching off Cricket forever...

Posted by android_user on (January 18, 2014, 9:29 GMT)

Shocking...as a die hard Indian fan, this smacks of a self serving structure and I wholeheartedly disagree with it. Yes the ODI formats generate valuable income but Test cricket is still the ultimate test of your cricketing skills. The way of the world is to demand instant gratification but the future of cricket requires respect for it's history. Why would the BCCI ever want to play NZ under the proposed bilateral arrngmnt...I for one am looking forward to seeing IF my team India can be competitive in the current tour of NZ. As a father of 2 young daughters I hv not had too many problems in instilling in them enthusiasm for Test matches. Test matches these days seem increasingly to end in a positive result compared with those of the 1970's & 1980's so in my opinion the game is actually more exciting and compelling than before. I love the sport and want to see it's base broadened, not diminished. For example, the ultimate test home or away, in the 1980's was to see your team play the WI

Posted by VisBal on (January 18, 2014, 6:46 GMT)

This has very dramatic implications. The Big Three (BT) may refuse to tour any country other than the others of the Big Three. Then there is no revenue stream for the Smaller Seven (SS), except from bilateral tours amongst themselves. And these being of a lower calibre (though better matched) will necessarily generate less revenue than a tour by SS to BT. At some point, these tours will also become so one-sided that they will stop. Hence, only BT-BT and SS-SS series will remain. In effect, a permanent two-tier model. And the death of cricket. If the SS teams' profits will also go into the common pile to be distributed more to the BT, they are better off on their own.

Posted by Ramesh_Joseph on (January 18, 2014, 6:11 GMT)

This arrangement is for Bilateral series only. Not for tournaments like world cup or Asia cup etc. It is correct that bilateral series should be based on bilateral arrangements. Teams can mutually decide whom they want to play and whom they want to tour instead of being forced to do so. There will be more meaningful matches as teams will play based on their preferences.I don't think this will favor any countries as based on a team's marketability, they will get to play. For example, the WI team of the 70s and 80s were a very marketable team while the present WI team isn't. I think this will do away with a lot of dull boring matches with just 100 spectators on the ground.

Posted by Udendra on (January 18, 2014, 5:41 GMT)

What's the use of a WORLD CUP if this is to happen? Ind, Eng & Aus may play within themselves and pronounce a winner as a world champion, thus avoiding humiliation too!

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 5:30 GMT)

India vs Australia, India vs England, England vs Australia, Australia vs South Africa forms huge percentage of test matches currently played. Only Sri Lanka and to an extent West Indies are the other two teams that are getting significant share of games with these giants. Essentially the current schedule shows a 2 tier or rather a 3 tier system in itself. the 3 Giants with RSA (if not for Logert, it cud have been 4 giants) at the helm. then PAK, SL, WIN getting considerable amount of cricket, though mostly among themselves and against the third tier teams form the the 2nd tier. and finally NZ, BAN and ZIM along with non test teams like KEN, IRE forms the third tier and the remaining remains as Associate for ever. ! -- How to eradicate poverty would be the main agenda for the next meeting of ICC, since they think they've solved all the cricketing problems

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 4:00 GMT)

Very sad indeed. A trend which had already been happening (by the way, involving more countries than just the "trio"; Sri Lanka being more frequent) is going to be legitimised. The next story coming out of ICC hammers further nails on the coffin!

Posted by michael.senthil on (January 18, 2014, 3:48 GMT)

i think everyone has just got to step back, and just wait to see what happens. i don't know if people know this, but the reason there was a ten match ashes battle last/this year was actually because of the world cup next year being held in australia and new zealand. if there was no world cup in australian, there wouldn't have been 10 match ashes battle. Two tier cricket also could work, however, it wouldn't be good if a team like the west indies drop out.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 2:38 GMT)

this fiasco within ICC changing again is making FIFA look like the most organised global sport on planet even though they stuffed up on Qatar...

maybe we should forget about England/India and Australia and have everyone else make their own version of ICC - and they'll be the ones making progress in global cricket - as who would be stupid enough to watch Australia v England EVERY Summer....and Australia v India EVERY winter - it'd get boring in no time...

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 2:35 GMT)

Finally some economic logic into ICC. The current FTP is a joke, why should a nation like India & lets say a nation like New Zealand earn the same? At Least now there will no longer be free rides of the money spinning countries.

I see this new proposal as a precursor to to a future where you have regular league cricket every season and then you have national cricket for big events once every 4 years or so.

This makes both economical and playing sense. It took us so long to realise this. US knew this long long ago - NFL/MLB/NBA. Europe realized this long time back too - EPL.

Posted by Lion_96 on (January 18, 2014, 1:44 GMT)

The scary part abt this proposal is that its not very different to whats taking place today. For e.g AUS opponents in Test Cricket have and will include, since March 2013 to Mid 2015, the following, 2 Test Series against India, 3 against ENG (I love an Ashes Whitewash as much as the next Englishman but that, 3 Ashes series in the space of two years, is ridiculous). I have got enough problems with the way things r now in cricket and these proposals will only further increase the problems. This is the equivalent of Wall Street providing recommendations for GFC in 08 or requesting the foxes gaurd the hen house.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2014, 1:30 GMT)

This will kill New Zealand, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the West Indies and all but ensure Ireland and Afghanistan will never play test cricket.

Posted by Andy_Wright on (January 18, 2014, 0:12 GMT)

This is the opposite of what is needed - the ICC needs to take direct control of scheduling to prevent boards exploiting players and over-saturating the fan-base with ODI and T20 cricket, which is exactly what will happen if the boards are allowed free reign. Boards make bilateral series decisions based on commercial gain, not cricketing reasons, so it's up to the ICC to moderate such actions. This proposal will also marginalise the smaller Test-playing nations by allowing rich countries to pick and choose who they play with impunity. Naturally they will pick the teams with the greatest commercial pull.

I also fully agree with other people's concerns here that this proposal would mean the end of Test cricket, except perhaps Ashes cricket. In a perverse way, I'd like to thank the Financial & Commercial Affairs group for highlighting this doomsday scenario for international cricket. Hopefully it can be avoided.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (January 18, 2014, 0:11 GMT)

I 100% agree with this move. Tests should be things that fans look forward to, either because they are hoped to be close, or because for some historical reason there is excitement about it. Having boring test series between two teams that are vastly different in skill and ability is not good for either side, nor is it good for the game. Every team will have someone who will want to play against them. Lower ranked teams will still want to play against other lower ranked teams in the hope of getting a win to improve their rankings and skill. This is a long overdue proposal and I hope that it happens.

Posted by brusselslion on (January 17, 2014, 23:44 GMT)

It's difficult to come to any other conclusion than this will mean more matches between Aus - England - India. I don't doubt that England vs. India will sell out next summer, the Ashes series the year after, and India- Aus the year after. But the appeal of seeing the same teams play each other over and over again will wear thin pretty quickly.

At a time when other sports (e.g. Rugby - both codes, Hockey) are doing all they can to expand the number of nations playing their sports at the highest level, the BCCI, ECB & CA have decided that what is needed to expand cricket's appeal is to retract and arrange endless matches between their own 3 nations. It does make you wonder about the suitability of some of the administrators who (are about to) ran our global game.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (January 17, 2014, 22:33 GMT)

2 utterly mad moves if they come to pass. The Eng-Aus-Ind governing body and revenue split and the scrapping of the FTP! The FTP needs strengthening not disbanding!

Posted by asporag on (January 17, 2014, 22:13 GMT)

Hats off!!! to this three boards.Cricket is all about you and rest of others are economically painful game show!!!! Congratulations to you, what you really deserve!

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 21:13 GMT)

To say there a large number of unviable tours is to completely miss the point of the FTP! Those who drafted these proposals should hang their heads in shame.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (January 17, 2014, 21:02 GMT)

It's time to say goodbye to my first love cricket

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (January 17, 2014, 21:00 GMT)

Very bad decision by icc

Posted by Sajid111 on (January 17, 2014, 20:55 GMT)

For me, today cricket has died! This is simply "capitalist cricket". Whatever happened to gentlemen's game?

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (January 17, 2014, 20:48 GMT)

There was widespread horror among England fans at the prospect of 10 Tests v Australia in a single year AND another series in 2 years. Despite the perception here, English fans do not want a solid diet of Tests against Australia. What we want is to see different teams and different players each year. We are happy to host Bangladesh because they have their ex-pat community too and they fill the grounds and we are happy to go to Bangladesh because you have to learn to play in all conditions (and we can usually beat them... in Tests, at least).

In 2011 England hosted Pakistan & India, in 2012 West Indies & South Africa, last year New Zealand & Australia, this year it is Sri Lanka & India. It's how we like it. Regular tours with a 4 or 5 year cycle, please. Not 10 consecutive Tests against the same opponent.

Posted by Kingzzzz on (January 17, 2014, 20:20 GMT)

This and other things like 2 tier will just ruin Cricket. Time to move onto other sports since Cricket will just self destruct with crazy moves like this. We already seeing low crowds and pointless series being held. Could it get worse?

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 20:05 GMT)

So we will see a 10 Test Ashes battle every year from now on. Also 5 Test battles only between India-England or Australia. How about a small nation called Sri Lanka or New Zealand? Are they allowed to play Test Cricket anymore?

Posted by heartbreakerz on (January 17, 2014, 19:36 GMT)

that day is not too far when only Ind-Eng-Aus will be playing among themselves n other teams will be history n that may well be the the end of international cricket

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 19:35 GMT)

Cricket is becoming three nations game not global game, it makes Pakistan and other nations to play T20 and ODIs to each other because for next 10 years SA, IND, AUS & ENG will play against each other well done ICC, and if that will be approved then hats off to BCCI you guys will won the world of Cricket by giving some money to ICC officials since last 8 years........

Posted by qwertyuiopqwertyuiop on (January 17, 2014, 19:26 GMT)

I am an Indian but this is ridiculous. Centralising power in the hands of 3 members,its the divine right to rule once again. It will completely destroy test cricket. Moreover csa,ca and bcci are relegation exceptions and tier 1 will be comprised of 4 teams so in the current scenario only sa can be rlegated and no other team

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 19:13 GMT)

It is a dreadful proposal for economically weaker nations like Zimbabwe,Bangladesh,Pakistan,New Zealand & West Indies. If the powers are shifted to three nations only who will share the major revenue & dictate thing to the weaker nations what sort of role is left for the ICC.

Posted by ferrari5107 on (January 17, 2014, 19:08 GMT)

I think every nation other than India, Australia, England and to certain degree South Africa (as long as they remain top team in cricket) should kiss goodbye to series again those four countries. Pakistan should kiss goodbye to hosting any country for at least next 10-15 years, even if conditions get better to something like conditions like 2006-07. Associates look for other sports to play, cricket is not for you guys.

One thing is for sure, Test Cricket will die (at least for Pak, SL, BD, Zim, NZ, WI). There will be big gaps for IPL, BBL, and maybe even T20 in England.

ICC, no need for your existence please dissolve, and eliminate ICC.

If the proposed plan becomes reality, cricket will become less popular than NFL, yes NFL. Difference between two (NFL and cricket) one is trying to expand, other is trying to limit itself.

Posted by Dhumper on (January 17, 2014, 19:02 GMT)

Welcome to the end of Test cricket except in Aus and Eng where we still have big crowds. Pak plays tests before empty stands in UAE, Ind and SA in front of very few die hard fans. NZ, WI and SL don't have much following either. Nobody would want to play Ban and Zim unless they want to give a shot to their rankings.

I'm a real Test cricket fan - but I think the world has been moving towards 3-4 hour games as you see packed houses in T20. I will only watch tests on TV but wouldn't want to spend all day at the stadium. Every game needs audience and packed stadiums otherwise it's not entertainment - for players and everyone involved. Test cricket needs some context and changes in rules. Make it 4 day games - each side can bat max 90 overs hence 2 innings each. Has to be a winner at the end. Run a championship season for 6 months. Home and away based on rankings. Then play offs and final game.

It shouldn't be T20 vs 1day vs Tests. It's the game of Cricket that's the winner!

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 18:40 GMT)

This is a shocking proposal. The FTP was there for a reason as a guideline and teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will get even fewer tests. The ICC is trying its hardest to prevent cricket flourishing and with every positive move (e.g. the tier system) they always seem to bring up another a negative move (this proposal).

Posted by Imran-Akram on (January 17, 2014, 18:38 GMT)

It would be a killer blow to knock out cricket .... specially test cricket.

Posted by Gobind_Dhaliwal on (January 17, 2014, 18:23 GMT)

I think FTP is devised with consideration of ICC members and gives equal opportunities to all playing nations.I think FTP should be designed accordingly and should be strictly followed.

Posted by android_user on (January 17, 2014, 18:22 GMT)

agree with longlivetestcricket. this will hurt cricket. we have already seen that some play more cricket than others. SL played 3 tests last year and Aus - Eng played 10 between them in last 7 months and top it up with other countries as well.

cricket is run by money now. and all boards look to go from where they can earn more. we have seen many changes in schedules to scrap tests and limited over cricket wwas played. many teams will not play with few others for ages. there is already division among countries in terms of matches being played. huge differece in no of games top teams playing and other playing. pak and aus had 2 tests in 2010. where as aus - india played many. same is the case of aus- eng. its because of big money. who will host ZIm or BD which are already getting less games than other.

many think that icc is nit doing enough to force boards to play agreed no of games especially tests. and this will damage it further.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 18:20 GMT)

Greed has no bounds when it all down and dusted it will be too late to resurrect the game. Why don't the might as well kick every body out and downsize to three members. India Australia and England

Posted by kalyanbk on (January 17, 2014, 18:18 GMT)

This is bad because some countries may want to play frequently while others get shunned. For example England may want to play Australia to the exclusion of others. India may play Sri Lanka endlessly. Countries like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Kenya and even New Zealand and West Indies may find it difficult to find top countries inviting them. The FTP was a way to ensure that everyone got a chance to play against everyone. This is a major step back and give in to financial interests.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 18:17 GMT)

Sounds like a truly terrible idea. Will probably be the end of meaningful test cricket if it goes through.

Posted by cricindia4life on (January 17, 2014, 18:17 GMT)

What a horrible plan. All this does is formalizes the power of ECB, CA, and the BCCI. Cricket is doomed in the other countries.

Posted by LongLiveTestCricket on (January 17, 2014, 18:05 GMT)

Well I wonder if some countries would everplay against each other since it might be decided by commercial interests. E.g Bangladesh, ZIM playing in India or Pak may not want to play Tests against NZ or WI since they would be in UAE too. On the other hand, some others would be playing each other every year say Aus-Eng, Inda-Aus,Eng-Ind because it brings them big money. ICC needs to devise this carefully since it may have grave repercussions too.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 17:58 GMT)

Its gonna hurt Pakistan Really bad.

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