ICC revamp January 28, 2014

Boards to discuss revised proposals

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Ugra: Real negotiating on proposals starts now

After days of hectic lobbying and bargaining the ICC board settled for a period of consultation and discussion over a set of principles which, if approved, will grant the BCCI, the ECB and CA a bigger share of cricket's global revenues and a bigger control of the game's governance.

An ICC press release announced a set of principles which were described as "unanimously supported." There were concessions granted to the other seven member nations, in the shape of the abolition of the two-tier concept which would have relegated Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to the lower division, the expansion of the proposed Executive Committee from four to five and money from a newly-created Test Match Fund expanded to include South Africa, unlike in the draft proposal which had left them out.

The draft proposals, put together by a working group of the Financial & Commercial Affairs committee of the ICC, were not put to vote following resolute opposition from a group of members who insisted on further deliberations. Hours after the ICC's press release, four boards sought to clarify their stance in the light of the statement about "unanimous support" for the principles.

One official, representing one of the other seven boards, said the term "unanimous" support was a "misleading" one. "We were offered amended terms and we will take them back to our Board and discuss it - there is nothing more to our position."

The one principle that made a specific reference to an actual change in the ICC's structure pertained to three key positions: the chairmen of the ICC itself, its new Executive Committee and the Finance & Commercial Affairs committee.

The ICC release stated that because it was "undergoing a transitional period that includes a new governance structure and media rights cycle" the "leadership" in these positions would be divided as follows: "a BCCI representative to chair of the ICC Board, a CA representative to Chair the ExCo and an ECB representative to Chair the F&CA." The release stated that, "this leadership will be provided for two years from June 2014" onwards. It also stated that, "anybody from within the Board can be elected to Chair the Board and anybody from within ExCo and F&CA can be elected to Chair those Committees."

The list of principles presented during the meeting for discussion covered each of the five "resolution" areas originally meant to be distributed among the seven member nations. These included the introduction of "meritocracy, a reworking of the FTP, the ICC's corporate structure, constitutional amendments, as well as changes in governance."

The first sign of any opposition to the "position paper" came late on Monday, when the representatives of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa asked for a deferral of the proposals, after which Bangladesh became the first board to formally communicate to the ICC on Tuesday that it was "against" the proposal.

According to one insider, none of the Big Three pressed for voting, "since they knew that a vote wouldn't be feasible", adding: "The next round of negotiations, read bargaining, begins now." A follow-up meeting will be held to discuss the proposals again next month.

A few hours after the ICC sent its press release, the PCB issued a statement saying, "no decision with regard to any proposed changes as per the Position Paper submitted by BCCI, CA and ECB have been made in today's ICC Board meeting. The PCB clearly stated at the meeting that the guiding principles were subject to PCB's Governing Board's approval. These matters will be placed before the BOG (board of governors) and thereafter PCB will take its position at the next ICC Board meeting."

CSA also sent out a release to "clarify" the ICC's statement, and said its board would meet soon to discuss the principles. "The support is subject to the approval of the respective Boards of the member countries after which a final decision will be taken at a follow-up ICC Board meeting on February 8," the release said.

In a statement from the BCB, acting CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhary said, "We have communicated to the ICC Board that the BCB will not endorse any proposal that compromises Bangladesh's full member rights in terms of status and participation. We respect the views of the member countries who have expressed similar sentiments."*

Sri Lanka Cricket's statement followed shortly after, which said, that at the meeting, "revised position papers were forwarded taking in to deliberation the concerns faced by the member nations, for the consideration of ICC as opposed to the original position paper circulated among the full member nations." SLC president, Jayantha Dharmadasa, it said, had "informed the ICC (of) the need for further discussions on the matter pertaining to the revised position papers with the (SLC's) Executive Committee prior to arriving at a decision in this regard."

Another official from one of the seven boards was pleased a final decision was deferred. "It is a big thing that we managed to have the resolution to not go through."

The ICC sought to redress the impression that there was a contradiction between its statements and those of the dissenting boards. Its procedures mean that the distance to be covered between a set of agreed principles turning into actions can be considerable.

The ICC press release quoted president Alan Isaac as saying: "There is more work to be done by the Members in developing their schedules of bilateral cricket while at the ICC we need to work through the detail of the manner in which these principles will be implemented ... Extensive work will now be undertaken in advance of a follow-up Board meeting next month."

Isaac was hopeful that an agreement could be reached soon. "The principles agreed today provide clear evidence that through the course of further discussions over the coming weeks we can be increasingly confident in achieving consensus."

January 28, 2014, 5.45pm: The BCB's original statement had read: "Bangladesh was the only full member nation to take a stand on this issue" before the board amended it

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mahapa on January 30, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    Shame on big three as they do not others to grow.Had I been there, iwould have rather preferred to play with street teams than these three. whwre is the humanity of english leaving aside india.The rule of Great Aklexander did not last long how will these three continue with this character. Alas! why is not great gavaskar there and standing by poor BD'S SLCB AND PC.

  • Udendra on January 30, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    @Mythh : yes, you are very correct. SL fans are disgusted with SLC.

  • Sal76 on January 29, 2014, 22:16 GMT

    The most important aspect for the success of cricket in this day and age is the bottom line. Unfortunately, BCCI, ECB and CA have the best grip on the bottom line. If they are put in charge of governing the bottom line, which apparently they were through the F&CA committee, they were likely to seek more power, which they did. Right or wrong, is not for me to judge and m y opinion won't affect the outcome.

    As far as the FTP is concerned, I agree with a bunch of radical comments made however, considering that Indian tours have saved many of the boards from bankruptcy, what's wrong with giving BCCI the autonomy to pick and choose. They saved you in the past, and if you are cosy with them, they'll save you again. The former Canadian PM once said about the US - "Whether we like it or not, the Americans are our best friends". This is true for all boards with respect to the BCCI - whether you like it or not, BCCI is your best friend, if you choose survival over pride.....cont....

  • Sal76 on January 29, 2014, 22:05 GMT

    There are 3 key aspects that govern the success or failure of a spectator sport - 1) Talent - if there was no talent, the sport wouldn't be as exciting. How strong was cricket viewership in India prior to the Sachin era? 2)Viewership - talent brings spectators, i.e., viewers. What is a spectator sport without spectators? The age old "if a tree fell in the forest did it make a noise if there was no one around to hear it" reference is highly appropriate. 3)Money - without money, you can't have any sport. You need money to build stadia, maintain them; you need money to pay players so they can pursue cricket as a full time vocation, as a profession, a career; you need money to send Srinivasan to Dubai so he can bully the ICC (yeah I know low blow); etc. etc. Most ICC member nations, have Talent, some viewership but very little money and we have seen the direction it has taken them....(cont)...

  • cric_fan123 on January 29, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    @IPSY - Are you even serious? India was the first team to play with Bangladesh. I am sure many would have accused BCCI of engineering no.1 test team if they played with BD more (hint: both countries have dry wickets). Everyone shouts India should play England, SA, Aus more and prove themselves as no. 1 but when they do, they are playing for more money? So its like saying Heads I win, tails you lose.

    That said, the proposal from BCCI, CA and ECB was bad on the front that they wanted veto power and immunity from relegation. Those are things I disagree with, if you play badly, you will be relegated there is no dictatorship, simple as that.

  • dummy4fb on January 29, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    It might be a hard pill to swallow, because the greed of individual players will demand more and more. But think about what would happen to India, Australia and England, if the rest decided that they would rather have democracy with a little less money for a short period, than to be controlled by the big 3 forever. How long would the fans in the big 3 flock to stadiums to see their team play the other two, especially when their team is at the bottom. There two ways to deal with bullies, continue to take the beating, or fight back.

  • dummy4fb on January 29, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    Its happening like that only like a 2 tier system. India played recently ag Eng and Aus and got thrashed 0-4 in both series and again they are going to play England and Aus this year. When they wil play against SL,Bang,Zim,WI and not to mention Pakistian(banned conutry by BCCI) . So it means that BCCI has already started 2 tier system and Indian team is suffering with continuous losses and unable to get back to track by getting winning movementum...

  • Twinkie on January 29, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    I have never seen India as "THE ENEMY" and I am certainly not a hater. I am simply someone who believes that respect is due to all people. I love the diversity of the world and the different cultures. I recognise all that is good and bad about these cultures. I have no dream of dominating anyone and will not bow to anyone. I have always fought against injusyice and will continue to fight until death. If the WICB bows to this takeover and the demands by these disrespectful people are met I will painfully give up cricket as my heart will no longer be in it. All these people talking about having no choice but to bow to BCCI should remember that the world can survive without cricket. It just won't be as much fun!

    PS to" India rules everyone". As you should know from your history, empires rise and fall. The shoe has been on the other foot before and probably will be again.

  • dummy4fb on January 29, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    @mm7111 this is not just money sharing issue. if it was just money they would have come up with a different proposal that would have made sure big 3 are getting their proper share. it is more about controlling ICC. the big three want to control ICC with only their representatives on key ICC positions, deciding who will paly against whom, where the tournaments will be held, etc. If all the key events are going to held in the big 3 countries how other boards are going to make money. if all big team are not going play with other teams how cricket is going to become popular in those countries..

  • IPSY on January 29, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    As simple and insignificant as the Future Tours Plan (FTP) might be in this whole matter, we all may not realise that clarity on its future position in the mix of things is about the most important issue that determines whether or not Test Cricket as an international sport of some merit would survive. Because, if the FTP is scrapped and countries are allowed the bilateral route in planning all of their test commitments, can anyone tell me when a country like Afghanistan for example, would ever play its first test match? Who are going to be willing to go to Afghanistan to play, or would invite them to play in their backyards? In other words how are they going to convince anybody that they're ready to play test cricket? Or, when India is only prepared (because of their bilateral privileges) to invite Australia or England to play and only take their invitation to tour; and England and Australia do the same thing, is there still going to be a ranking system? There are so many questions.

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