ICC Board clears governance, financial changes
The ICC Board has gained the necessary votes to approve a large number of sweeping changes relating to the governance, financing and structure of international cricket. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the PCB were the only two Full Members who abstained when a "comprehensive resolution" was put to vote.
The BCCI, in particular, but also Cricket Australia and the ECB can now anticipate a period of greater wealth and influence in the ICC, although their proposals have been reduced in some areas and the ICC continues to claim that all nations will be better off as a result of the changes adopted.
The ICC has presented key elements of the resolution as follows:
- More revenue for all nations because of a programme designed to secure a lucrative new rights deal.
- A Test cricket fund to sustain Test cricket through to 2023.
- Contractually-binding agreements between nations about Test series.
- A clear pathway for Associate Members to become Test nations.
Plans to give widespread powers to an executive committee dominated by India, England and Australia have been watered down. Although this committee will still draw up major policy, its decisions will need to be ratified by the full board.
BCCI president N Srinivasan will become the ICC chairman from July this year, while CA chairman Wally Edwards will head a newly-formed Executive Committee, which will report to the ICC Board. The ECB chairman Giles Clarke will continue to be the head of the Finance and Commercial Affairs (F&CA) Committee. This will be for an initial two-year transitional period to 2016.
The ICC confirmed that at the end of this transitional period "the Chair of the ICC Board will be elected from within the ICC Board with all Full Member Directors entitled to stand for election. BCCI, CA and ECB - will be represented on both sub-committees, along with two representatives of the other Full Members (who will be elected by the Board)."
An F&CA committee "working group" made up of Srinivasan, Clarke and Edwards had first presented the draft of their radical revamp to the rest of the ICC Board at an unscheduled meeting called in Dubai on January 9. Central to the draft was the ICC revenue distribution model which was reformulated to give the BCCI, ECB and CA a graded percentage share of ICC revenue, with a larger chunk going to these three Boards when compared to the rest.
Today the ICC said, "Full Members will gain greater financial recognition based on the contribution they have made to the game, particularly in terms of finance, their ICC history and their on-field performances in the three formats."
The release stated the decision around the new revenue distribution model was, "the outcome of a negotiation between Members that has been required to provide long-term certainty of participation of all Members in both ICC events and bilateral series against other Members." The absence of any such "certainty" would impact on, "the rights for ICC events, which are to be taken to market this year... and by extension, so would the financial support that has driven the growth of cricket around the world.
"The structure of the model will ensure that none of the Full Members will be worse off than they are at present and - if forecasts of revenue generation prove to be correct - all will be significantly better off. The agreement of the model has been an important part of a wider negotiation that will now provide long-term certainty of participation in ICC events by all of the Full Member teams."
The meeting confirmed the end of the FTP in its current form, with future schedules being dependent on "contractually binding" negotiations between boards. "There was also confirmation that all Full Members will enter into a series of contractually binding bilateral agreements as a matter of urgency so that they can confirm a comprehensive schedule of matches in a Future Tours Programme that will now be extended to 2023."
The ICC Board also paved a clearer path for high-performing Associate nations to gain Test status. "The winner of the next ICC Intercontinental Cup will be entitled to take part in a play-off against the bottom-ranked Full Member and, if successful, obtain Test status," the ICC said. "This complements the pathways that are already in place for any Member to be able to qualify for the major events in ODI and T20I cricket."
The ICC confirmed that the proposed World Test Championship would be scrapped and replaced with the Champions Trophy in 2017 and 2021 to strengthen their commercial property. "It proved impossible to come up with a format for a four-team finals event in Test cricket that fits the culture of Test cricket and preserves the integrity of the format," its release said. "The most recent ICC Champions Trophy event proved to be very popular with supporters around the world and the future events will build on this success.
"With the ICC Champions Trophy alongside the ICC Cricket World Cup and ICC World Twenty20 and the formats and venues already confirmed for all of these events the ICC has a really attractive package for 2015-23 to take to the market."
At the same time, the governing body announced the introduction of a Test Cricket Fund "to help ensure all of the Test playing teams will be able to sustain a home programme of Test cricket through to 2023."
"The fund will be available to all of the Test playing Members except the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)."
The ICC release said, "several of these decisions" would need to be "considered and adopted" by the ICC's Full Council when it meets in June. While there were no specifications made as to what these decisions were, as full council voting is required of constitutional amendments, that procedure is largely regarded as a formality.
ICC president Alan Isaac said: "The Board has made some significant decisions today which provide us with long-term certainty in relation to the future governance, competition and financial models of the ICC. There were eight Full Members who were in a position to support the resolution today and the two [SLC, PCB] who abstained have pledged to further discuss the issues with an aim to reaching unanimous approval over the coming weeks."