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June 21, 2014
All notions of independent governance for cricket will be stricken from the record of the ICC in the latest incarnation of one of the world's more trampled upon documents, the code of ethics for the executive board, which will be approved by its members at the governing body's annual conference in Melbourne.
While constitutional change to the ICC and the ascension of the banned BCCI president N Srinivasan to its chairmanship will be the major events of the conference, the ethics code will provide the framework under which the new regime will operate. Authored primarily by the Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards, it will be signed on not only by executive board members but associated office bearers and any alternate representatives at board meetings.
The key change to the code will be to assert that executive board members are at meetings not as independent directors of the ICC but as representatives of their home boards, a distinction that takes the game's global governing body back to the status of a "members' organisation" as its most powerful delegates, India and England, prefer it to be.
This was made clear by leaked board minutes from the January 2013 executive board meeting, when N Srinivasan disagreed openly with the ICC's ethics officer Sean Cleary's reminder that the code stated executive board members should act in the best interests of the ICC - or the game globally. The minutes recorded: "Mr Srinivasan explained that he did not agree with that principle and that his position was that he was representing the BCCI."
Such flouting of the code was commonplace when Edwards began his term on the ICC board following the end of his predecessor Jack Clarke's tenure in 2011. Edwards had been a major figure in the implementation of an independent governance model for CA, spreading power and influence equally among the states while also opening a path towards the appointment of board directors not tied to any state association.
However Edwards' discussions with board members, Srinivasan and the ECB chairman Giles Clarke in particular, led him to conclude that the ICC board was still some years away from being ready for such a scenario, despite the recommendations of the Woolf Report into global cricket governance. Only a handful of Lord Woolf's findings, including the separation of the roles of ICC president and chairman, will be approved at the conference.
"I think we've come to grips that the ICC is a members' organisation. It is a debate that's gone on for a couple of years and will still go on," Edwards said in March. "It's not FIFA or the IOC. It doesn't make the rules. It doesn't do the FTP, never has and never will, in my view. It was set up to help organise international cricket on behalf of the members. Umpires, security, anti-corruption, those are its main roles, and being a forum for members to go and talk and decide things."
Nevertheless, the new ethics code may yet emerge as a vital document, given the Indian Supreme Court investigation running concurrently to Srinivasan's looming appointment as ICC chairman. That investigation has banned Srinivasan from conducting his day-to-day duties as BCCI president. Should it rule against him in conclusion it will be under the new ethics code - which he will sign and agree to abide by - that Srinivasan would be removed from ICC office.
Another notable change to the code is that accusations of its contravention may only be brought to the ICC and its ethics officer by signatories of the code, reducing the ability of outsiders to level allegations without first presenting them to the board. For the likes of Lalit Modi, this will be a new obstacle.
But the presentation of an ethics code that all ICC executive board members agree to work by will be some sort of progress. After all, its predecessor has been flouted ceaselessly and heedlessly in recent years, as the game's big three nations set a course for the governance and revenue changes that will be inked into cricket's equivalent of law in Melbourne from Tuesday.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettigFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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