ICC revamp February 6, 2014

Lord Woolf calls draft proposal 'a retrograde step'

ESPNcricinfo staff
30

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."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 8, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    Vassal, it is because of wide participation and funding of cricket that quality players are developed. India will narrow the flow of money and cripple cricket development, limit other country's international exposure and therefore the pool of quality players to choose from for leagues like the IPL. Take Andrew Flintoff, everybody forgot about him within months after his retirement from international cricket. He targeted lucrative freelance contracts, but nobody saw him play on the telly, therefore nobody picked him. I tell you now India needs world cricket and world cricket needs India. Not only one or the other.

  • on February 8, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    The good 3 vs the pig 3 !!!

  • Practical_person on February 8, 2014, 4:13 GMT

    @Vassal you conveniently forget like many others in this forum that foreign players will choose IPL ahead of their national team because they will be compensated much more just like most asians prefer to work in western countries than their home countries. You can't expect the western countries to fund Asian countries for this reason unless they are altruists which we can only hope but not expect from BCCI or any other cricket board for that matter. My point foreign players will come to IPL regardless and quality of other national teams will deteriorate.

    @Craigchan - interesting point but this was before IPL when it took two to tango. Cricket will go in the direction if ECB and CA does not cave in. Main reason being BCCI will earmark the best players from across the globe, increase the number of franchises and go in the direction of football or baseball. Unfortunately, I believe most international players will choose IPL over their national team because of the money involved.

  • on February 7, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    (1) India A plays India B: some revenue generated (2) India plays Bangladesh: revenue generated more than (1) (3) India plays South Africa: revenue generated more than (2) Clearly the extra revenue generated in (2) and (3) is brought in by the other country.

  • sajid7137 on February 7, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    I would suggest to PCB, SLC and CSA that they should allow India to have bigger share in profit but they should not let India to control ICC. It is logical that whoever supports cricket better revenues wise then that entity should have an appropriate share. But letting that Entity to chave control over all deciosn making is irrational. India has to be part of board of directors, not boss of board of directors. You invest mpore, ok, you have more profits/loss but you can not be our boss, simple. If you want to be a boss then you can get out of ICC and be your boss along with 2 others.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on February 7, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    The proposed new rules for the ICC seem to be:

    - All cricket playing nations are equal, but some are more equal than others - Agreement is strictly voluntary, but any nation who disagrees will have their rations / games against India reduced by half - The troika will serve the interests of no-one but themselves.

    And, can you believe it, some commentators have had the temerity to compare the proposed ICC with Animal Farm.

  • ZkAneela on February 7, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    @veerang..eliminating all good bowlers from opposition teams won't help you either bcoz their bad or worse bowlers will be better than yours.still a shame.

  • azurecharms on February 7, 2014, 14:53 GMT

    So called big 3 want their proposal sail this way or that way. No amount of sane arguments and fair logic will dissuade them. It all has come after IPL brought so much money to Indian Cricket and they went to the moon. Only way they can step back and rethink if Pak, SA, SL, WICB and Zim jointly start their own T20 league and rotate venue yearly in UAE, SA, WI, SL and Zim, which will be a success and many players from Aus and Eng will also come; this will bring the so called big 3 demigods to the ground.

  • 1_234 on February 7, 2014, 14:48 GMT

    Soon this matter will be gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

  • Neel_123 on February 7, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    @SmashingBaby: "I think you'll agree that quality isn't based on the population, or the resulting revenue they inevitably generate."

    a) True, quality has nothing to do with population otherwise India would have been dominating all sports! b) Population does NOT 'inevitably' generate revenue. otherwise SL and Pak boards would have been 'wealthier' than Aus and England.

    "If Australia suggested that they should be in charge during the 10 years of their being the No.1 test nation, the Indians would have called us racist".

    c) If only you could see beyond the nationalistic blinkers: Aus and England were in-charge of cricket for almost a century and they RULED cricket with absolute power and VETO (till 90's). These two teams decides where to play, whom to play and IF to play! When England was generating large money, world cup has to invariably played in England (home advantage)! All this changed NOT because England had benevolent 'change of heart' BUT bcoz BCCI started earning money!

  • on February 8, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    Vassal, it is because of wide participation and funding of cricket that quality players are developed. India will narrow the flow of money and cripple cricket development, limit other country's international exposure and therefore the pool of quality players to choose from for leagues like the IPL. Take Andrew Flintoff, everybody forgot about him within months after his retirement from international cricket. He targeted lucrative freelance contracts, but nobody saw him play on the telly, therefore nobody picked him. I tell you now India needs world cricket and world cricket needs India. Not only one or the other.

  • on February 8, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    The good 3 vs the pig 3 !!!

  • Practical_person on February 8, 2014, 4:13 GMT

    @Vassal you conveniently forget like many others in this forum that foreign players will choose IPL ahead of their national team because they will be compensated much more just like most asians prefer to work in western countries than their home countries. You can't expect the western countries to fund Asian countries for this reason unless they are altruists which we can only hope but not expect from BCCI or any other cricket board for that matter. My point foreign players will come to IPL regardless and quality of other national teams will deteriorate.

    @Craigchan - interesting point but this was before IPL when it took two to tango. Cricket will go in the direction if ECB and CA does not cave in. Main reason being BCCI will earmark the best players from across the globe, increase the number of franchises and go in the direction of football or baseball. Unfortunately, I believe most international players will choose IPL over their national team because of the money involved.

  • on February 7, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    (1) India A plays India B: some revenue generated (2) India plays Bangladesh: revenue generated more than (1) (3) India plays South Africa: revenue generated more than (2) Clearly the extra revenue generated in (2) and (3) is brought in by the other country.

  • sajid7137 on February 7, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    I would suggest to PCB, SLC and CSA that they should allow India to have bigger share in profit but they should not let India to control ICC. It is logical that whoever supports cricket better revenues wise then that entity should have an appropriate share. But letting that Entity to chave control over all deciosn making is irrational. India has to be part of board of directors, not boss of board of directors. You invest mpore, ok, you have more profits/loss but you can not be our boss, simple. If you want to be a boss then you can get out of ICC and be your boss along with 2 others.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on February 7, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    The proposed new rules for the ICC seem to be:

    - All cricket playing nations are equal, but some are more equal than others - Agreement is strictly voluntary, but any nation who disagrees will have their rations / games against India reduced by half - The troika will serve the interests of no-one but themselves.

    And, can you believe it, some commentators have had the temerity to compare the proposed ICC with Animal Farm.

  • ZkAneela on February 7, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    @veerang..eliminating all good bowlers from opposition teams won't help you either bcoz their bad or worse bowlers will be better than yours.still a shame.

  • azurecharms on February 7, 2014, 14:53 GMT

    So called big 3 want their proposal sail this way or that way. No amount of sane arguments and fair logic will dissuade them. It all has come after IPL brought so much money to Indian Cricket and they went to the moon. Only way they can step back and rethink if Pak, SA, SL, WICB and Zim jointly start their own T20 league and rotate venue yearly in UAE, SA, WI, SL and Zim, which will be a success and many players from Aus and Eng will also come; this will bring the so called big 3 demigods to the ground.

  • 1_234 on February 7, 2014, 14:48 GMT

    Soon this matter will be gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

  • Neel_123 on February 7, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    @SmashingBaby: "I think you'll agree that quality isn't based on the population, or the resulting revenue they inevitably generate."

    a) True, quality has nothing to do with population otherwise India would have been dominating all sports! b) Population does NOT 'inevitably' generate revenue. otherwise SL and Pak boards would have been 'wealthier' than Aus and England.

    "If Australia suggested that they should be in charge during the 10 years of their being the No.1 test nation, the Indians would have called us racist".

    c) If only you could see beyond the nationalistic blinkers: Aus and England were in-charge of cricket for almost a century and they RULED cricket with absolute power and VETO (till 90's). These two teams decides where to play, whom to play and IF to play! When England was generating large money, world cup has to invariably played in England (home advantage)! All this changed NOT because England had benevolent 'change of heart' BUT bcoz BCCI started earning money!

  • sza_13 on February 7, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    So called BIG3 should be reminded basics of why we play sports: Olympic Charter - "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION OF ANY KIND and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."

  • NALINWIJ on February 7, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    when an intelligent judge makes criticism levelled at a dictatorship we should applaud it as an intelligent example of democracy. we are all able to comment on this website whether anyone pays attention to us or not.

  • kentjones on February 7, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    To follow up another post elsewhere, the turbulence being caused by the 'proposal' is in effect quite a beneficial thing for the game. We are in fact being forced to examine cricket more intricately, come to its defense more intensely, and thus, rally round the great game more intently. Emerging out of such intense introspection, which in effect is what is presently transpiring, will be constructive and progressive developments for the game. I predict that in the midst of this turmoil and instability will be a force of momentum and impetus, which will gather greater mass, and marshal significant members in its forward motion. For a game that seemed to be stumbling and staggering along the one way road to death's door, such outpouring of attention and focus can be nothing but encouraging and helpful to its life cause. To quote a wise sage: "Turbulence is life force. It is opportunity. Lets love turbulence and use it for change. " Positive change will come for the game's good.

  • AlJay on February 7, 2014, 11:25 GMT

    I think Cricket is confused. In the full professional era cricket should focus on club cricket with an international board as elected by the various cricket boards directing an international schedule. This will eliminate the debate of who has the most money as then money will be spent in country i.e like football. English football league is considered the most expensive in terms of salaries but they don't dominate FIFA. You have the best players week in and week out playing each other at club level but also a healthy international calendar.

  • ToeCruncher on February 7, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    @CricketisKing > "If you can't, too bad. Look for another sport." Would you have only 3 teams play cricket globally? To develop the sport in the smaller markets, money is required; investment is required to create the market, which is the one of the prime mandates of the ICC. To say take it or leave it to the smaller boards is ludicrous.

    Think what will happen when when to top 3 only play themselves, what will happen to the game of cricket.

    I, in principle, don't support handouts, but money is required to develop the game globally. Take away that money, and the game WILL die. Would you see this great game disappear in our generation, just because 3 boards are more interested in the bottom line than the spirit of the game? I truly hope i am not around when that happens!

  • stormy16 on February 7, 2014, 11:01 GMT

    Thanks for saying something at long last but where are the others? There is no point doing the talking tomorrow it's too late. ECB shame on you for abandoning the game in its darkest hour, about to be tunred in to a money making venture rather than the noble sport. CA you guys do alot of talking about 'fair go' etc but when the time came you ran with the thieves! WICB, NZC do you guys even realize how badly you will be cornered when its realized games in your contry will not be watched by the billion+ Indians - in short it would be uneconomical to tour you! Please wake up and support the 3 on the opposite side. You owe it to the game and the game deserves better than money hungry traders controlling what is a noble sport.

  • veerang on February 7, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    @ ZkAneela, thats why, we are going to eliminate all good bowlers from each opposition team after the draft resolution passes.

  • chapathishot on February 7, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    @ZkAneela:Same as pakistan not having a good batsmen who can win matches

  • ZkAneela on February 7, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    @vassal....still india dont have a wicket taking bowler in 1 billion population.what a shame

  • Vikram_Rathore on February 7, 2014, 10:08 GMT

    Social systems have always been impacted by financials or force or both… Right from the kingdoms of the ancient world, to the powerful countries in the modern era; they have all either risen or fallen, by these 2 factors or the lack of it. It's only natural (although not entirely reasonable or right) for the Big 3 to ensure that their interests are protected, even if it means it is at the cost of others.

    However, it is proper for us to enquire, why should we expect BCCI to share the income they generate through Cricket with South African or New Zealand cricket boards, if New Zealand or South African Rugby boards aren't sharing the income they generate through Rugby, to the Indian Rugby Union!?

    To each their own! Deal with it! Get your governments to fund for building stadiums and develop sports, no point in expecting the rich neighbors to contribute.

  • Neel_123 on February 7, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    "in sports large populations are already an advantage, not a burden"

    Without strong economy and proper funding huge population is NOT an advantage! With equal funding, bigger country has limited infrastructure for development which can cater only to a very small %age of population! You can not just choose random 100 people from each country for training (equal funds) and then expect country with higher population to produce better sportsperson. It is IMPOSSIBLE.

    Lack of funding becomes even more severe problem for India as most Indian school lack even the most basic amenities for sports development.

    Eg. Indian Hockey: once 8 time Olympic champion, India starts falling behind western countries once expansive Astroturf were made mandatory! No school or college in India could afford it even today. Young Indian players still play hockey on grass fields where dribbling is more important aspect than 'passing'. Funding for top 30-50 players is mostly useless until schools get Astros!

  • haq33 on February 7, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    Thanks Woolfy. Now if the lions, tigers and boks stand their ground, this circus may yet be forced out of town.

  • on February 7, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    I have been a Big Supporter of The Woolf Report, but then the money powers played it down, and then it did not have the push to move forward. Very bad was it then for Cricket.

    Now here it is again, the so called Cricket is now more than anytime only money-for rather than the beauty of the game of cricket. So greedy are top officials of India that they have even bought the English and Australian too into their side.

    Are the so-called cricketers' awardees of the Khel Ratnas and Padma Shris and Bharat Rathnas ready to come out and defend the Cricket they have so-called told and played. Hoping they see this/these comment/s.

  • CricketisKing on February 7, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    Since BCCI seems to be the "problem" child to a lot of people, why don't all the other boards join up and vote BCCI out of ICC? The reason I say this is because cricket is not going to be the same. Lots of wounds have been opened and trust lost. Boards will be constantly watching their backs against any BCCI "attacks". I say, every board should go on its own and whoever survives, good for them. Raise your own money and don't look for handouts. If you can't, too bad. Look for another sport.

  • ygkd on February 7, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    I can imagine the 2018 Tri-Nations World Cup as a showpiece for the game; one allowing all associates and lesser-nations the opportunity to enter a ballot for the chance to feature in a super-over exhibition during the innings break of the opening game - the qualifying final between England and Australia (held at Lords or the MCG), after which the winner (England or Australia) meet India in the second game and final at Mumbai. What higher aspirations could the game possibly have than this, short of replacing all grilled helmets with pith ones and turning non-big-three players into modern-day punkah wallahs? Yes, enough retrograde steps and that is where you end up....

  • on February 7, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    What this is coming to, is hopefully not a declaration of war on this sport now clearly assumed itself a financial enterprise.

    Who gets the lion's share of revenue? Whether India, along with England and Australia for their proportionate currency value input that also includes substantial advertising revenue on their own - and more than other playing countries is an argument. But just is the question of hierarchy and how it is going to shape the game already mired with on and off field controversies. The question, how it will also need to match this through on field competition, and on that, how it is viewed where it draws its main interest. Will this hierarchy turn to a structure to control its on-field policies, rules, scheduling to maintain that status? To repeat, ICC's attempt to aimlessly expand this sport ultimately resides on the level of interest. Is this to become a new "Old Boys Club," yet those who pioneered this sport who were far less financially oriented?

  • on February 7, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    well i dont know much about the laws but i suggest other countries should go to an international court of justice or Transparency international. I mean there has to be some BODY/COURT/ORGANIZATION where you can CHALLENGE THIS TAKE OVER

  • on February 7, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    I agree with Lord Woof. I am so disappointed with the west Indies agreeing to the proposal. They have sold themselves out .No wonder our cricket is in the doldrums.

    I hope that the Big three will not get the required votes. This action is similar to the United Nations where the big five can do as they please.

  • on February 7, 2014, 2:09 GMT

    I love the part which says the assumption is made that if you get large earnings from cricket, they are yours and not cricket's, which is very false."! SOLE committee is going to take away the soul of cricket! Well done for those have taken the steps to avoid it!

  • Ghost-117-16 on February 7, 2014, 0:11 GMT

    The first argument supporting the BCCI (that they generate most of the money) is invalid because the IPL can NOT succeed without foreign players. Secondly, India might have a large population, but in sports large populations are already an advantage, not a burden. India has a much bigger pool of players from which to have their pick, where the smaller nations don't have such luxuries.

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  • Ghost-117-16 on February 7, 2014, 0:11 GMT

    The first argument supporting the BCCI (that they generate most of the money) is invalid because the IPL can NOT succeed without foreign players. Secondly, India might have a large population, but in sports large populations are already an advantage, not a burden. India has a much bigger pool of players from which to have their pick, where the smaller nations don't have such luxuries.

  • on February 7, 2014, 2:09 GMT

    I love the part which says the assumption is made that if you get large earnings from cricket, they are yours and not cricket's, which is very false."! SOLE committee is going to take away the soul of cricket! Well done for those have taken the steps to avoid it!

  • on February 7, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    I agree with Lord Woof. I am so disappointed with the west Indies agreeing to the proposal. They have sold themselves out .No wonder our cricket is in the doldrums.

    I hope that the Big three will not get the required votes. This action is similar to the United Nations where the big five can do as they please.

  • on February 7, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    well i dont know much about the laws but i suggest other countries should go to an international court of justice or Transparency international. I mean there has to be some BODY/COURT/ORGANIZATION where you can CHALLENGE THIS TAKE OVER

  • on February 7, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    What this is coming to, is hopefully not a declaration of war on this sport now clearly assumed itself a financial enterprise.

    Who gets the lion's share of revenue? Whether India, along with England and Australia for their proportionate currency value input that also includes substantial advertising revenue on their own - and more than other playing countries is an argument. But just is the question of hierarchy and how it is going to shape the game already mired with on and off field controversies. The question, how it will also need to match this through on field competition, and on that, how it is viewed where it draws its main interest. Will this hierarchy turn to a structure to control its on-field policies, rules, scheduling to maintain that status? To repeat, ICC's attempt to aimlessly expand this sport ultimately resides on the level of interest. Is this to become a new "Old Boys Club," yet those who pioneered this sport who were far less financially oriented?

  • ygkd on February 7, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    I can imagine the 2018 Tri-Nations World Cup as a showpiece for the game; one allowing all associates and lesser-nations the opportunity to enter a ballot for the chance to feature in a super-over exhibition during the innings break of the opening game - the qualifying final between England and Australia (held at Lords or the MCG), after which the winner (England or Australia) meet India in the second game and final at Mumbai. What higher aspirations could the game possibly have than this, short of replacing all grilled helmets with pith ones and turning non-big-three players into modern-day punkah wallahs? Yes, enough retrograde steps and that is where you end up....

  • CricketisKing on February 7, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    Since BCCI seems to be the "problem" child to a lot of people, why don't all the other boards join up and vote BCCI out of ICC? The reason I say this is because cricket is not going to be the same. Lots of wounds have been opened and trust lost. Boards will be constantly watching their backs against any BCCI "attacks". I say, every board should go on its own and whoever survives, good for them. Raise your own money and don't look for handouts. If you can't, too bad. Look for another sport.

  • on February 7, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    I have been a Big Supporter of The Woolf Report, but then the money powers played it down, and then it did not have the push to move forward. Very bad was it then for Cricket.

    Now here it is again, the so called Cricket is now more than anytime only money-for rather than the beauty of the game of cricket. So greedy are top officials of India that they have even bought the English and Australian too into their side.

    Are the so-called cricketers' awardees of the Khel Ratnas and Padma Shris and Bharat Rathnas ready to come out and defend the Cricket they have so-called told and played. Hoping they see this/these comment/s.

  • haq33 on February 7, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    Thanks Woolfy. Now if the lions, tigers and boks stand their ground, this circus may yet be forced out of town.

  • Neel_123 on February 7, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    "in sports large populations are already an advantage, not a burden"

    Without strong economy and proper funding huge population is NOT an advantage! With equal funding, bigger country has limited infrastructure for development which can cater only to a very small %age of population! You can not just choose random 100 people from each country for training (equal funds) and then expect country with higher population to produce better sportsperson. It is IMPOSSIBLE.

    Lack of funding becomes even more severe problem for India as most Indian school lack even the most basic amenities for sports development.

    Eg. Indian Hockey: once 8 time Olympic champion, India starts falling behind western countries once expansive Astroturf were made mandatory! No school or college in India could afford it even today. Young Indian players still play hockey on grass fields where dribbling is more important aspect than 'passing'. Funding for top 30-50 players is mostly useless until schools get Astros!