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January 19, 2014
One member of the ICC's Finance & Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee has said he was not privy to any details about the F&CA working group's draft proposal that recommends a radical overhaul of the administration of world cricket.
Bermuda's Neil Speight, an ICC director and Associates & Affiliates (A&A) representative in the F&CA committee, said in an email message that he had "no knowledge" of the proposals reported on ESPNcricinfo on Friday. The "position paper" was made available to a Full Member special meeting in Dubai on January 9 to which, Speight said, "no Associate representative was invited" and so "dissociated" himself from the document and its contents.
The recommendations from this "position paper" will effectively cede ICC's executive power and financial control to the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the ECB.
For the three boards, the proposals included permanent membership on an Executive Committee that would override all other committees, exemptions from a new system of Test match promotion and relegation and the re-vamping of ICC's financial model carving out for them a greater proportion of the ICC's gross earnings.
Speight's comments indicate that not all members of the F&CA were aware of the "working group position paper" proposals. His email, though, prompted an angry response from one Associate official, who said the details of the proposals and Speight's public statement revealed that A&A interests were not being "properly" guarded.
In its first formal statement, the ICC pointed out that the recommendations were put together by a "working group" of the F&CA committee, and would be discussed when the ICC Board meets in Dubai from January 27 to 29. They have emphasised in the past that the document given to the Boards of Full Member nations during the January 9 special meeting was not an ICC F&CA committee document and its details were still up for discussion.
Speight's comments puts the focus on the F&CA "working group". This working group, it has been ascertained, was concentrated around the three boards who stand to gain the most out of the position paper draft. It comprised Giles Clarke of the ECB, Wally Edwards of Cricket Australia and N Srinivasan of BCCI, assisted by a clutch of commercial executives: Dean Kino (general manager of legal and business affairs, Cricket Australia), John Perera (commercial director ECB) and Sundar Raman (chief operating officer, IPL). Kino and Raman also form a two-man technical committee in the Champions League T20, one of the world's wealthiest cricket tournaments. It happens to be one of only three committees listed on the tournament website.
Cricket Australia's only comment to ESPNcricinfo was, "As usual, there are a range of important matters up for discussion at the ICC Executive Board meeting. The outcome of that meeting and any decisions made will be communicated by the ICC. Until that time, we won't be making any comment." On Sunday, Clarke's response to the Observer newspaper about the issue was: "There's not much I can say about a draft. We get through a lot of those." The BCCI has made no comment, but when contacted by ESPNcricinfo, several high-ranking BCCI officials said they had no prior information about the nature of the proposals being put on behalf of the BCCI to the ICC.
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