BCB on board, Big Three one vote away
With the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) accepting revised proposals for the restructure of the ICC after securing the assurance that their Test status will not be revoked, the Big Three are one vote away from the number required to push through constitutional amendments in order that the revamp be completed in full.
"BCB has stood firm on [not agreeing] to the two-tier format...but they have agreed upon the position paper," a BCB official confirmed today. He was referring to the two-tier format that would automatically put the No. 9 and 10 teams in the ICC rankings outside the existing group of eight Test playing nations. There was a lack of clarity as to whether the BCB had signed off on the guiding principles or on the resolutions pertaining to the amendments, the official saying the board had not put pen to paper. But BCB's "agreement" though indicated that the Big Three are a step closer to gaining greater control of the ICC's functioning and its revenues.
Of the four boards that had opposed the content and speed with which the document was being pushed through, BCB's concerns about their Test status appear to have been addressed. It now leaves the cricket boards of Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka as the only three who have made it clear that their "support" for the ICC's key principles as announced on Tuesday still remained subject to approval by their home boards.
At the end of the ICC Executive Board meeting which ICC president Alan Isaac called, "one of the most productive and participatory meetings of all that I have been in," he said that there were several stages left for the completion of the revamp. Key principles had been agreed to but "the detail around those principles needs to be worked out and obviously be further approved by the board at further meetings. We've agreed principles at the moment, we haven't adopted resolutions or recommendations from the draft report subsequently negotiated. We've just agreed to a set of principles."
There were no specifics given by the ICC about when or where the next Board meeting will be held, though a Cricket South Africa release on Tuesday night specified that the next meeting will be February 8. One member did suggest that Singapore could be a venue, but that is yet to be confirmed.
There appears to be confidence in the Big Three camp that they will be able to get the support of one of the three by the end of the week and thus have a total of eight on their side, which makes up the three-fourths majority needed to pass constitutional amendments in the ICC. Rather than the two-thirds majority required for more routine decisions regarding ICC's functioning, constitutional amendments require three-fourths majority, i.e. eight out of ten members in agreement so that "special resolutions" be passed. There are several components of the ICC's Finance & Commercial Affairs committee working group's paper that require constitutional amendments - like the creation of a new internal Executive committee (ExCo) and a new ICC commercial entity to be called IBC (ICC Business Co) as well as changes in the ICC Board itself.
A Big Three insider told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday night: "The next round of negotiations, read bargaining, begins now." On Wednesday, another representative said the message from their corner of the group was that, "There are no more negotiations left except in terms of the FTP and minor issues regarding promotion and relegations."