ICC revamp February 7, 2014

Proposed revamp legally sound, says ICC

ESPNcricinfo staff

Iain Higgins, the ICC's head of legal affairs, has responded to the objections raised by Sri Lanka Cricket president Jayantha Dharmadasa, and stated that the resolutions to be presented to the Full Member Board for a revamp of the ruling body are all legally sound.

On February 5, Dharmadasa had written to Higgins immediately after a special meeting of the SLC stakeholders voted unanimously against the revised proposals presented to the ICC directors at the ICC Board meeting on January 28. Higgins' response has suggested that if any member had any objections to the proposals, they had the right to vote against it, should it be brought to vote, during the ICC's Board meeting in Singapore on Saturday. The proposals themselves, Higgins said, could be "considered" within the ICC's "Memorandum and Articles of Association."

While the ICC media release from the last Board meeting at the end of January stated that all ten Full Members, along with the three Associates, had "unanimously" accepted the principles of the various resolutions, not everyone was completely in favour of the proposals. In the subsequent weeks, Cricket South Africa and the Pakistan Cricket Board, followed by SLC, have publicly expressed their opposition to the proposals.

In his correspondence to Higgins, Dharmadasa had said the "purported proposals" were completely against the fundamental principles on which the ICC had been formed. He feared that the revised structure would put power in the hands of "just three Full Members" and make available to them a "disproportionately large share" of the ICC funding meant for all ten Full Members. That, he said, would only violate the equal revenue-share model that was part of the ICC constitution.

Dharmadasa's most significant reservation was against the proposed "contribution costs" which would erase the existing equal distribution of funds to all Full Members from the ICC surplus. The ICC, he said, needed to have its funds distributed "in furtherance of its objectives and not as a share of profits". Dharmadasa said the "contribution cost" was: "not a true cost and accordingly cannot constitutionally be dealt with in this manner. It is our view that the purported resolution utilises the terminology of 'cost' in an attempt to circumvent provisions of the Memorandum of Association, which otherwise prevent this financial model from being implemented."

Although he disagreed with rest of the points raised by Dharmadasa, Higgins was in guarded agreement that the financial redistribution model might need further discussions. "Our preliminary view is that the payment of 'Contribution Costs' and 'Test Cricket Fund' are in furtherance of the ICC's objectives and consistent with the prevailing provisions within the ICC's constitution. We will consider that matter further, and will reflect on your comments in that respect," Higgins wrote.

Higgins said that the three boards - the BCCI, the ECB and Cricket Australia - who had tabled the resolutions did not go against any of the ICC's founding principles when putting together the draft of "the position paper". "[…]On the face of the resolutions themselves, they would appear to be correct," Higgins wrote. "Any Member who disagrees with that analysis or any of the resolutions is, of course, free to vote against the resolutions, or take such other action as they see fit."

Contesting Dharmadasa's point that the ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee - that had originally prepared the 'position paper' based on which the final proposals were drawn and revised - did not have the "scope of power", Higgins said the board could not be stopped from "considering" the resolution since it was being tabled by three Full Members. According to Higgins, there was nothing in the ICC's articles of association which stated that any resolution needed to first come through a sub-committee. Further, there was no mention of the fact that any resolution on a particular aspect of the game could only come through a "sub-committee with the mandate in that area". Higgins stated that no committee had any exclusive rights to putting forward ideas only within their scope of operations.

According to Higgins, it was not necessary to give the Members "three months" notice for the proposals to be studied, as argued by Dharmadasa. The period, he said, was necessary only if the resolutions were being tabled in front of the Full Council. The ICC's Full Council meets in June every year.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 8, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Where's the sportsman spirit ICC? and Cricket's tagline "Game of Gentlemen" should be considered revising too now. Sad days for cricketing fans today.

  • Roo on February 8, 2014, 2:31 GMT

    @StaalBurgher - agree with some of your points but you seem confused on who's to blame...

    Test cricket is being encouraged more by Ind, Eng, Oz, NZ whom play the most Tests today. Pak, SL, SA play many 2 Test series to the games detriment in those countries. WI/SL cancelled a Test series, Pak decreased our Oz Test tour this year.

    The whole point of the Test Fund is to encourage the poorer teams to play more Test cricket by financing unprofitable series. At least then the money is going into cricket & the watching public, not the boards pockets...

  • dexter on February 8, 2014, 1:11 GMT

    Countries like SA, NZ, WI and Sri Lanka have nobody to blame but themselves for the financial state they are currently in. This sport has been around since the 18th century and these nations have acquired test status since GOD knows when, yet tons of empty seats are always the most noticable thing at most of their venues every single year. All of these countries have done an extremely poor job at marketing the sport to their people. South Africa in my personal opinion is the worst of the lot when one considers the amount of consistent success they have experienced both at test and ODI level, they have a huge population as well as most of their venues are very small and substandard. There is no reason why their venues should be so empty nor their cricket should be struggling the way it is financially. These nations that are struggling financially need to strenghten ties and work much harder together to find a winning recipe of financial success and sustainability and it must be done now

  • Umair on February 7, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    They can take the money but what about all these other powers the big three want.. That they will run it. They will decide where world cups are played. They will make the rules etc. Who gave them the right to do so ? Money doesn't means that they should get all the powers... That is against the true essence of sport..

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    @flashash : than its better for the three to remain in icc because all other countries will leave icc and make their own association and bloc.

  • Vikram on February 7, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    To all those who are complaining about this move!

    Isn't it 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!? Why would you like to have different yardsticks for different games?

    To be fair, to each their own! Deal with it!

    Get your governments to fund for building stadiums and develop sports in your country. There is no point in expecting the rich neighbors to contribute towards cleaning up and decorating your lawn...

  • vishal on February 7, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    @talenthunters if India will be not in top league then who will bring in money? U?

  • Rob on February 7, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    H'mmm welcome to the real world all those who thought ICC was some Olympic grouping!!

    Cricket just like American football, basketball and baseball will follow the money! Why should they not? Has basketball really conquered the sports world?

    Cricket is NOT football or even RUGBY!! So get a grip!! Big three will have to spread tours around but as to rankings etc those will have the same significance as the US Baseball "World Series"......BUT, hopefully we'll see tiddlers getting a chance at the big shot!

  • Andrew on February 7, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    BCCI has already demonstrated last year that they will use tour leverage to fight personal battles, and try to force other countries to run their cricket the way BCCI prefers (and these proposals give them more leverage to do so). What happens when the next Haroon Lorgat is Sri Lankan or a New Zealander? How anyone on the ICC can believe that India would wield increased power in the interests of anyone but themselves and their often-personalized agendas is crazy.

  • Sunil on February 7, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    @SZA_13: Does this 'Olympic charter' applicable only to India or to all countries?

    If NZ or SA Rugby unions do not lend their financial hands to uplift the Indian Rugby team, it makes no sense for BCCI to be unreasonably charitable towards them! How many times SA have invited Indian soccer (or Rugby) team for 'friendly' matches! Oh, yes! NEVER. Most countries in fact DEMAND cash payment to play in India. Is this part of charter? Sports spirit should be a two-way street. So far BCCI had been quite 'charitable' in its dealing with other cricketing nations, what has it earned it? Any gratitude from non-earning countries? Or even good words about BCCI? None.

    It would be foolhardy of highest order on BCCI's part if it agree to blackmail of 3 opposition boards. Controlling 'game of cricket' should NOT be India's business. But controlling Indian cricket is not only their business but also BCCI's right like everyone else!

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