ICC sets out its position on 1st Test at Mohali

ICC Media Release

November 27, 2001

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The following is the text of a letter written by ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed to BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya, released to the media on the 27th November 2001.

Dear Jaggu

I write in relation to the forthcoming first Test match between India and England at Mohali next week. In the course of this letter I will touch on matters that have occurred recently in South Africa.

ICC has not received any formal communication from BCCI concerning these matters since your Honorary Secretary's letter to me of November 21, BCCI seeming to prefer to communicate through the media.

I have, however, noted a number of troubling media comments attributed to you in recent days and it is important that the ICC's position is made very clear to you. I have previously communicated directly with the BCCI Honorary Secretary.

I note from your media comments that you are now the person authorised by your Board to deal with this matter.

With your approval, I will correspond directly with you and copy the letters to the Honorary Secretary.

First, let me address the issues concerning the matches in South Africa.

As previously indicated to the Honorary Secretary of the BCCI, after consultation with the ICC President, I have made a number of rulings. I note from your press comments that you dispute my authority to make these rulings.

These rulings have been made with the full knowledge and consent of the ICC President and for all relevant purposes should be regarded as joint rulings of the ICC President and the ICC Chief Executive.

They are made pursuant to the powers delegated to the President and the Chief Executive under the ICC Memorandum and Articles of Association, the ICC Committee Manual (which was approved by ICC Council at its meeting in June this year) and the ICC Delegation to the Chief Executive.

The ICC Memorandum of Association provides as follows:

"3. The objects for which the Council (ICC) is established are:-

(A) To administer, develop, co-ordinate, regulate and promote the game of cricket world-wide in co-operation with its Members;

(B) To do all such other things as are incidental to, or as the Council may think conducive to the attainment of all or any of the above objects."

In the ICC Delegation to the Chief Executive which was approved unanimously by the ICC Executive Board, of which you are a member, at its meeting held in Kuala Lumpur last month, the Executive Board empowered the Chief Executive as follows:

"2. Decisions of the Executive Board acting as a whole are binding on the Chief Executive.

From time to time, the Chief Executive will be required to take a position on short notice responding to intense media and public interest.

In such circumstances, the Chief Executive together with the President is empowered to act without prior consultation with the Executive Board.

"8. Within the boundaries established by the Executive Board.....the Chief Executive is authorised to make all administrative decisions, take all administrative actions, establish all administrative practices and develop all administrative activities necessary to achieve the ICC's administrative objectives."

The rulings referred to above are the following:

1. The Third Test match was forfeited by both India and South Africa as both teams refused to play the match under the duly appointed ICC Match Referee Mike Denness. Accordingly, for all relevant ICC purposes, the match is to be regarded as having been abandoned.

2. The effects of this decision are as follows:

a) For the purposes of the ICC Test Match Championship, the Series is awarded to South Africa with a score of 1-0.

b) ICC records will record this match as having been abandoned without play taking place.

3. The match that is currently being played in Centurion is not a Test Match for ICC purposes.

4. The effects of this decision are as follows:

a) The result in that match will not count as a Test Match for country record purposes;

b) Individual performances by players will not count for the purpose of individual player records;

c) The match does not count as a Test Match for the purposes of the suspension of India player Virender Sehwag imposed by the ICC Match Referee, Mike Denness, in the Second Test at Port Elizabeth on 19th November, 2001.

5. It follows that Virender Sehwag is not eligible to play as a member of the India team in the First Test Match to be played against England at Mohali commencing Monday December, 3.

6. BCCI was advised of this in my letter to its Honorary Secretary dated 22nd November, 2001.

7. The ICC Match Referee, Denis Lindsay, has been advised accordingly.

In support of these decisions, I make the following comments:

A. A "Test Match" is defined in the ICC Regulations and Code of Conduct as follows:

"Any cricket match of not less than five days scheduled duration played between teams selected by Full Members ..... as representatives of their Member Countries and accorded with the status of Test Match by the ICC."

B. It follows logically that if ICC is able to accord Test Match status to a match, it is able to not accord that status in appropriate circumstances.

C. The Regulations and Code of Conduct clearly spell out the role of the ICC Referee -

"1. An ICC Referee shall:

a) be appointed by the ICC President or the ICC Chief Executive, and

b) shall be independent of any Member or Member Country competing in any Test Match or ODI Match for which he is appointed, and

c) neither team will have a right of objection to a referee's appointment.

3. The Referee shall be the independent representative of the ICC at all Test matches and ODI Matches....."

D. Prior to the commencement of the scheduled Third Test Match in Centurion, both BCCI and UCBSA objected to the Referee appointed by the ICC and refused to play the match if the appointed official was not removed.

E. With the agreement of BCCI, UCBSA purported to dismiss the ICC Referee and deny him access to the ICC Referee's facilities at the Centurion Ground.

F. Without the consent of the ICC President or the ICC Chief Executive (and against the express wishes of the ICC Chief Executive) UCBSA, with the agreement of BCCI, purported to appoint an ICC Referee to officiate in the match. This person was not "independent of any Member or Member Country" as required by the regulations and the Code of Conduct and was not properly appointed.

G. Similarly, the ICC Regulations and Code of Conduct provide that the ICC will appoint one of the umpires to officiate in a Test Match. On 22nd November, 2001, the ICC advised UCBSA that it had withdrawn the appointment of the ICC Umpire who had previously been appointed to umpire in the match.

H. In writing, on 22nd November, 2001, the ICC Chief Executive, acting with the authority of the ICC President, advised BCCI and UCBSA that the match that was proposed to be played in Centurion did not have ICC approval and would not be designated as an official Test Match for ICC purposes.

I. The consequences of that decision were then set out in writing including the ruling that this match would not count as a Test Match for the purpose of the suspension of the India player, Sehwag.

I note further that the President and Chief Executive of UCBSA and the Captain of the UCBSA team that played in the match in question have agreed that the match was not a Test Match.

Having made these primary and consequential rulings, it now falls to me to enforce them.

I note that at a media conference yesterday, you announced that BCCI does not accept that ICC has the power to withdraw Test Match status from the Centurion match.

I note further that you have indicated that it is your view that Virender Sehwag is eligible for selection and that the BCCI Selection Panel is free to select him to play if it sees fit to do so.

You will appreciate that BCCI and ICC are on a collision course and that the consequences for world cricket are of great significance.

I note in reports of your media conference that you will seek to put in place a process whereby there is a right of appeal against decisions of Match Referees.

Further you have urged that there should be a Code of Conduct for ICC Referees.

You appreciate further from your long service as a Director of ICC and your three years as ICC President, that the ICC Executive Board is the proper forum for these matters to be debated and determined. Further, you have disputed the power of the ICC President and Chief Executive to make the rulings that I have outlined above.

There were occasions during your term as President of ICC on which you made executive decisions in circumstances in which it was not possible to obtain the prior agreement of the Executive Board.

Again, the proper forum to seek to have those rulings reversed, if it BCCI's wish to do so, is the ICC Executive Board.

You are reported to have stated to the media that BCCI will not play in any match in which Mike Denness is appointed as ICC Referee.

You are aware of the procedure adopted by ICC Management whereby each Board participating in a series is provided with preliminary appointments of ICC Referees and asked whether there is any objection to that appointment.

If there is any reasonable objection to the appointment, an alternative Referee is appointed. This process was followed in the case of Mr Denness' appointment for the India v. South Africa Series and there was no objection from either side.

This process will continue to be followed until 1st April 2002 and any reasonable objection from BCCI would result in another appointment being made.

You are aware that a new process will apply from 1 April, 2002 in which a Referees' Panel consisting of 5 referees contracted to the ICC will officiate in all Test Matches.

If you have any concerns about the implementation of the new system, you will have the opportunity to raise these at the next meeting of the Executive Board.

The immediate problem that we face is the BCCI's decision to the effect that Virender Sehwag is eligible for selection in next week's Test Match.

This is clearly in breach of the rulings outlined above and previously notified to you.

My major areas of concern are:

* It is important that the Series continue and that all matches have Test Match status.

* It is important that we avoid any further damage to the game by resolving this dispute as soon as possible;

* It is vitally important that we avoid any risk of injury to the public, players or officials should the ICC Referee refuse to allow Virender Sehwag to play in the match.

If this issue is not resolved well ahead of the Match, it is possible that it will take place at the start of the Match in a highly charged and volatile environment that will exacerbate risk of injury.

You are quoted in the media as having said the following in respect of the status of the match currently being played at Centurion:

"If anyone can explain why we are wrong then we will be prepared to listen."

I trust that the detailed explanation that I have provided has addressed this issue satisfactorily.

Jaggu, I note from some of your media comments, that you do not seek to be in a position of confrontation with the ICC. In all of the circumstances, I ask BCCI to reconsider its decision in respect of next week's match and to seek to resolve its concerns in the proper forum, the ICC Executive Board.

I will telephone you today to confirm that you have received this letter and to discuss any areas that may be unclear to you.

In that conversation, I will ask you to advise me by mid-day Friday, November 30, (Kolkata time) of your Board's decision in respect of Virender Sehwag.

In the meantime, might I respectfully suggest that you consult with the members of your Board with a view to reaching a decision that is in the best interests of the great game of cricket.

With the agreement of the ICC President, I propose to circulate this letter to the ICC Executive Board and make the contents of the letter available to the media.

Yours sincerely

MALCOLM SPEED
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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Tour Results
South Africa v India at Centurion - Nov 23-27, 2001
South Africa won by an innings and 73 runs
South Africa v India at Port Elizabeth - Nov 16-20, 2001
Match drawn
Sth Africa A v Indians at East London - Nov 10-13, 2001
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
South Africa v India at Bloemfontein - Nov 3-6, 2001
South Africa won by 9 wickets
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Match abandoned without a ball bowled
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