ICC revamp February 6, 2014

Lord Woolf calls draft proposal 'a retrograde step'

ESPNcricinfo staff

Lord Woolf, the former chief justice of England and Wales who was commissioned by the ICC in 2011 to review its governance, has called the proposed revamp of the organisation initiated by the BCCI, CA and ECB a "retrograde step" and "a really alarming position for the future of cricket".

"It is giving extraordinary powers to a small triumvirate of three people, and everybody else has got no power to say anything or do anything. I would certainly think it would be very difficult to get any person who was completely objective, looking at cricket, to understand how these proposals could take forward the programme for international cricket," Woolf told the Telegraph.

"To say a sport that has got aspirations to be a world-class sport internationally should not have an independent body at the top seems to me to be very surprising. It seems to be entirely motivated by money. I think it will stand out as a retrograde step, and people will be worried for less powerful figures, or countries, in the cricketing world. It is elevating three members - and the assumption is made that if you get large earnings from cricket, they are yours and not cricket's, which is very false."

According to the draft proposal, which will be voted on at a meeting of all Full Members in Singapore on February 8, a greater proportion of revenue and executive decision making powers will be given to the three boards that proposed the changes. In February 2012, the BCCI had been one of the chief opponents to the Woolf report, which had recommended a restructuring of the ICC's executive board to make it more independent and less dominated by the bigger countries.

"It's an undisputed fact that they [India] are the biggest generators of money and that they can say that should be taken into account, but how it should be taken into account is a matter of judgment," Woolf said. "That's why this wants to be looked at. It may seem very attractive to the three countries involved - and they are undoubtedly the biggest countries in the cricketing world. All the more important I would say are the interests of the smaller countries.

"There is a paragraph which says: It is proposed that the ICC executive board forms a new committee of the ICC called the executive committee, which under new terms of reference will act as - and I emphasise this word - the SOLE recommendation committee on all constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, developments and nomination matters, as well as all matters regarding distributions from the ICC. I have never seen anything of that sort in a body of this nature."

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