ICC event under fire January 4, 2006

India to call for scrapping of Champions Trophy

Cricinfo staff

Malcolm Speed: sure to launch a spirited defence of the ICC's biannual event © Getty Images
In the same week it was revealed that India were considering going it alone and arranging their own fixtures, it is being reported that they are about to land another bombshell on the ICC by calling for the biennial ICC Champions Trophy to be scrapped.

The event was designed to raise funds for the promotion and development of the game world-wide. But India, which hosts the next tournament later this year, believe it dilutes the importance of the four-yearly World Cup and causes huge financial losses to the host country.

"We will honour our commitment to organise the Champions Trophy this year but want the tournament to be taken off the calendar in future," an Indian cricket board official told AFP on Wednesday. "Since the ICC takes away a major part of the revenue, the tournament is a financial burden on the country which hosts it.

"We have been forced to put aside 30-35 days in the prime months of October and November for the Champions Trophy. We could have utilised the period to organise a Test and one-day series which would have gained us almost $70 to 80 million. I think the ICC should organise just one main event, the World Cup, in an already overcrowded calendar."

India are expected to raise the issue at the ICC's executive board meeting in Dubai on January 11 after consulting other major cricket powers like Australia, England and Pakistan.

The Champions Trophy, which started in 1998, was the brainchild of Jagmohan Dalmiya, former Indian board president and ICC chief executive, who lost control of the Indian board in November when his faction was voted out by political heavyweight Sharad Pawar.

The move to scrap the tournament comes amid reports that India want to maximise revenues from TV rights by organising more series against major nations like Australia, England and Pakistan over the next four years.

The last Champions Trophy, in England in 2004, was criticised by many for its format and also because there were too many substandard matches.

The ICC raises much-needed income from the event. The Champions Trophy and the World Cup are its only major source of funds, and Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, is sure to point out that were the Champions Trophy to be axed then there would be serious implications for the funding of the world game, especially at the lower levels.

The ICC's most recent attempt to create another revenue stream - the Super Series - was widely viewed as a failure and is unlikely to be repeated.