Players throw down gauntlet to the ICC
The great and the good of the ICC meet in London next week, but this week it was the turn of the Federation Of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) to hold their annual general meeting.
"The meeting of the member player associations, conducted over two days in London, considered issues ranging from cricket operations, relationships with stakeholders and FICA commercial and administration matters," Tim May, FICA's chief executive, explained. "The discussions involved a diverse range of voices from the cricketing world and there were detailed and healthy debates concerning a number of key issues.
"FICA's annual meeting is very valuable for our member associations. In addition to attending to the statutory and constitutional requirements of an annual meeting - it gives each player association a fantastic forum in which to express their views and for the group to reach positions on both operational and commercial matters."
FICA has been very much at loggerheads with the ICC on the issue of player burnout of late, and the Future Tours Programme was very much at the forefront of discussions. FICA members decided to approve a revised model of compliance for member countries to consider at the ICC meeting.
The revisions include:
"The above proposal represents a commonsense approach to growing concerns from not only the player base but from the game's administration," May said. "The wish is to avoid excessive player workloads and to preserve the integrity and demand for the international game."
The issue of player rights was also discussed in the light of the ICC negotiating contracts for its events after the existing deal with Global Cricket Corporation expires after the 2007 World Cup. The issue caused serious problems ahead of the 2003 tournament, but FICA said that talks with the ICC were going well.
One of the main items that Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, has used to attack FICA recently has been its lack of representation in a number of countries where player associations are not in existence or recognised. It was decided that FICA would now allow players to appoint individuals to represent them regardless of the existence of any formal body inside the country.
"This is a significant forward step for FICA and the players," said a spokesman. "It allows countries where player associations, either politically or culturally, are unable to be established to formally appoint an individual as a representative of that international team and give their opinion on common international matters. This further provides the ability for FICA to be truly representative of all of the world's cricketers, in addition to providing a cost effective, apolitical alternative for such countries."
Among other things agreed was the reintroduction of FICA's Hall of Fame Awards, which were last held in 2002.
The current FICA Hall of Fame holds 58 inductees, including players such as Sir Donald Bradman, Greg and Ian Chappell, Sir Vivian Richards, Clive Lloyd, Hanif Mohammad, Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, Barry Richards, Graeme Pollock and Sir Richard Hadlee.
May said: "Due to a combination of resource and logistic issues within FICA there have been no inductions into the FICA Hall of Fame since 2002. We are all excited that as FICA has matured as an organisation, we are now able to allocate the appropriate resources to the Hall of Fame, ensuring that our existing and future inductees' place and achievements in the game will be forever celebrated."