ICC news February 2, 2012

Woolf report looks to shake up old boys' club

ESPNcricinfo staff
46

The Woolf report can be read in full here

The ICC's independent governance review, headed by Lord Woolf, has called for sweeping changes in the administration of cricket and the functioning of its governing body. It starts with a restructuring of the ICC's executive board to make it more independent and less dominated by the bigger countries and also recommends a re-examination of the rights and benefits of the Test-playing Full Member nations, calling for measures to increase transparency in dealings by the ICC and its members.

The review looks at cricket's growth over the past decade and the effect of that growth on the ICC and the various member nations, noting the perception that the bigger nations look after their own interests and not those of the game per se. "The ICC reacts as though it is primarily a Members club," the review notes; "its interest in enhancing the global development of the game is secondary."

Much of its vision of a revamped ICC is aimed at redressing this imbalance between the cricket-playing nations. The most important recommendation concerns revamping the ICC's executive board, its top decision-making body, to reduce the numerical strength of the Full Members and to offset their influence by bringing in independent directors, in keeping with best corporate governance practices.

The board currently comprises the heads of all Full Member nations, three representatives from the Associates and Affiliates and the ICC's president, vice-president and chief executive. Woolf's plan incorporates five independent directors - three from within the game and two from outside to bring in diversity of opinion and experience - with voting rights and the additional stipulation that they should not be in a minority. It suggests that the Full Member nations eventually have four representatives, and the Associates two, with the chairman, president and chief executive making up the desired dozen.

It also suggests that an ICC director should not concurrently hold any leadership or executive post with their home boards. For example, N Srinivasan is currently both an ICC director and president of the Indian board but, if the recommendations are accepted, he can't retain both posts. As for independent directors, they must not have not recently held positions of authority on any member board nor any commercial body that has had significant contractual relationships with the ICC.

The suggestions of the review are not binding on the ICC, which will examine it at the next Board meeting in April. On Wednesday the ICC had announced its plan to split the post of president into a ceremonial and a governance role, stating that the decision had been in agreement with two of the Woolf report's 65 recommendations.

The report also asked for greater opportunities for non-Test playing countries to compete against the top nations and an increased say for them in the administration of the game.

It recommended that the ICC do away with the present membership system of Full Members (the Test-playing countries), Associates (countries where cricket is firmly established and organised, such as Ireland etc) and Affiliates (countries where the game is played in accordance with the Laws of cricket, such as Bhutan etc), and instead have two clear membership classes: the Full Members and Associates.

It has asked that the ICC adopt the principle of one Board member, one vote. Under the ICC's current voting pattern in the full council, Full Member nations and the 35 Associates have one vote each, while the 60 Affiliates are split into groups of twelve, each of which has a single collective vote, adding up to a total of five. For a special resolution to change the ICC Constitution the requirement is for the support of eight Full Members and 38 out of 50 of the full council.

In another recommendation, the Woolf report asks for the current number of Full Members be "reviewed" in order to "open up the full membership more widely." It suggests that Test status "should not be a requirement of full member status." It says that the full member "class" should include Test playing nations "together with other high-performing (but not Test playing) members."

Being granted Full Membership gives a country greater access to the ICC's funds and greater voting power in the governing body's chief executive's committee as well as the full council.

The Associates mostly get their chances to play Test countries at ICC tournaments such as the World Cup and the World Twenty20 but the report called for the FTP to be modified to provide Associates more matches against the big boys outside these global events.

The final report of the Woolf review was presented to the ICC Executive Board on Tuesday and released to the public on Thursday. In preparing the report, Lord Woolf was assisted by Justice Mukul Mudgal, former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and by consultancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

The report was written after interviews with various stakeholders, including the ICC board, the chief executives' committee, heads of the national cricket bodies, players' associations, former heads of the ICC and journalists.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BlorScouser on February 3, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    Hope the ICC takes the report in a positive manner and take the steps necessary to establish themselves as suitable administrators of a truly global game. Time to shake up the old boys club.

  • Hrit24 on February 3, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    A brilliant result! Can't wait for April! If these changes are implemented, then it will be a watershed in the history of cricket. It will do a world of good to Associates/Affiliates. Looking forward to that day.

  • Hrit24 on February 3, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    @Gizza, this report clearly indicates that the top Associates get more of a say in the running of the game. This necessarily does not mean that they will be elevated to Test status. It tells the ICC to remove Test status as one of the "criterion" for Full Member status, as the current top associates will then have a better chance of preparing for Test cricket as a full member as it current has. For all those who speak of the dilution of Test cricket in these comments, I'd say that it has clearly stated that more full members would not necessarily mean more Test-playing nations. A democratic ICC would be a dream for the game. We just get the example of FIFA and football, where they are reaping the fruits of democracy. Really, this report is a major step forward.

  • maxximoo on February 3, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    would love to see an independant report into the BCCI...........please?

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 3, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    @Baundele and all other India bashers, then why other boards begging for a tour from India??? Few examples : India played 30-40 ODIs aganist SL 1 yr back to help them reduce the loss...(but still they are not stable because of new stadiume constructions)...The English/Australian stadiums were full when India played against them even if India lost, but Pak-Eng test match played in front of empty gallery...and much exciting Aus tour of SA (tests) played in front of school kids with free pass (search the news in Cricinfo)...and Pak board looking for a series with India to get some cash...why this? Even if India is not doing well in the field they have the biggest number of viewers...and think what will happen to others if India not playing cricket...thats our strength...or just imagine why all cricket legends publish autobiography in India and trying to make issues over there book? was it for fun or a marketing strategy?

  • on February 3, 2012, 1:01 GMT

    what a shame this won't be implemented.

  • Gizza on February 3, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    The report doesn't make clear if "Full Member" means Test status or if it just means have stronger voting rights but not necessarily Test status. I would support the latter for a larger number of countries. Maybe around 15. With regards to the debate about cricket's financial dependence on India, I read somewhere (maybe on Cricinfo) that about 70% of the revenues in the cricket economy comes from the Indian market. And it not just the IPL. The tours of India and India's tours of other countries bring in the big dough. I don't think cricket will die without India but there will be big pay cuts for all cricketers across in the world. The salaries will probably go back to Kerry Packer levels which is enough to make a living but much less than rival sports which may become more of an incentive (in the non-subcontinent sports like football and rugby become far more attractive career-wise). I don't think it is as black and white as the comments here say it is.

  • Lord_Dravid on February 3, 2012, 0:39 GMT

    Zimbabwe and Bangladesh need to go back to being an associate team..they are atrocious in the field of play and there is hardly any improvement in their game despite their12 year test status and all the world class facilities that has been available to them..they need to forget chasing the top jobs in the ICC and focus on improving their cricket otherwise they're going keep making fool of themselves!

  • ygkd on February 2, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    Full status for the successful minnows, long before they play a test? This all looks a bit too much like democracy, methinks. Can't see such a radical change happening. The big fish will likely have a different agenda. What is needed is public pressure. And for that to happen, people need to read and understand the implications of what's being proposed and then consider just what the future will be like for the minnows if this is not implemented now, then make an informed comment. So a little empathy might help for starters.

  • Busie1979 on February 2, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    This is not groundbreaking stuff. Don't hold your breath. Nothing will happen. The conflicts are the backbone of the status quo and that will not change. The game must evolve. It is silly that Afghanistan v UAE is not considered an "international". What's the point? Cricket is the only sport in the world that does this. Why should countries have automatic qualification to the ODI or T20 world cup? It is a pretty straight forward exercise for the top 8 teams to qualify and the "Associates" cannot complain if they don't make it. The other option is to have a rest of the world team and do away with the distinction. This is not without precedent. The West Indies are not one country. Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, Tobago, etc would be "minnows" against Australia or India. But as West Indies they are a competitive team and were once world champions.

  • BlorScouser on February 3, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    Hope the ICC takes the report in a positive manner and take the steps necessary to establish themselves as suitable administrators of a truly global game. Time to shake up the old boys club.

  • Hrit24 on February 3, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    A brilliant result! Can't wait for April! If these changes are implemented, then it will be a watershed in the history of cricket. It will do a world of good to Associates/Affiliates. Looking forward to that day.

  • Hrit24 on February 3, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    @Gizza, this report clearly indicates that the top Associates get more of a say in the running of the game. This necessarily does not mean that they will be elevated to Test status. It tells the ICC to remove Test status as one of the "criterion" for Full Member status, as the current top associates will then have a better chance of preparing for Test cricket as a full member as it current has. For all those who speak of the dilution of Test cricket in these comments, I'd say that it has clearly stated that more full members would not necessarily mean more Test-playing nations. A democratic ICC would be a dream for the game. We just get the example of FIFA and football, where they are reaping the fruits of democracy. Really, this report is a major step forward.

  • maxximoo on February 3, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    would love to see an independant report into the BCCI...........please?

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 3, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    @Baundele and all other India bashers, then why other boards begging for a tour from India??? Few examples : India played 30-40 ODIs aganist SL 1 yr back to help them reduce the loss...(but still they are not stable because of new stadiume constructions)...The English/Australian stadiums were full when India played against them even if India lost, but Pak-Eng test match played in front of empty gallery...and much exciting Aus tour of SA (tests) played in front of school kids with free pass (search the news in Cricinfo)...and Pak board looking for a series with India to get some cash...why this? Even if India is not doing well in the field they have the biggest number of viewers...and think what will happen to others if India not playing cricket...thats our strength...or just imagine why all cricket legends publish autobiography in India and trying to make issues over there book? was it for fun or a marketing strategy?

  • on February 3, 2012, 1:01 GMT

    what a shame this won't be implemented.

  • Gizza on February 3, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    The report doesn't make clear if "Full Member" means Test status or if it just means have stronger voting rights but not necessarily Test status. I would support the latter for a larger number of countries. Maybe around 15. With regards to the debate about cricket's financial dependence on India, I read somewhere (maybe on Cricinfo) that about 70% of the revenues in the cricket economy comes from the Indian market. And it not just the IPL. The tours of India and India's tours of other countries bring in the big dough. I don't think cricket will die without India but there will be big pay cuts for all cricketers across in the world. The salaries will probably go back to Kerry Packer levels which is enough to make a living but much less than rival sports which may become more of an incentive (in the non-subcontinent sports like football and rugby become far more attractive career-wise). I don't think it is as black and white as the comments here say it is.

  • Lord_Dravid on February 3, 2012, 0:39 GMT

    Zimbabwe and Bangladesh need to go back to being an associate team..they are atrocious in the field of play and there is hardly any improvement in their game despite their12 year test status and all the world class facilities that has been available to them..they need to forget chasing the top jobs in the ICC and focus on improving their cricket otherwise they're going keep making fool of themselves!

  • ygkd on February 2, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    Full status for the successful minnows, long before they play a test? This all looks a bit too much like democracy, methinks. Can't see such a radical change happening. The big fish will likely have a different agenda. What is needed is public pressure. And for that to happen, people need to read and understand the implications of what's being proposed and then consider just what the future will be like for the minnows if this is not implemented now, then make an informed comment. So a little empathy might help for starters.

  • Busie1979 on February 2, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    This is not groundbreaking stuff. Don't hold your breath. Nothing will happen. The conflicts are the backbone of the status quo and that will not change. The game must evolve. It is silly that Afghanistan v UAE is not considered an "international". What's the point? Cricket is the only sport in the world that does this. Why should countries have automatic qualification to the ODI or T20 world cup? It is a pretty straight forward exercise for the top 8 teams to qualify and the "Associates" cannot complain if they don't make it. The other option is to have a rest of the world team and do away with the distinction. This is not without precedent. The West Indies are not one country. Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, Tobago, etc would be "minnows" against Australia or India. But as West Indies they are a competitive team and were once world champions.

  • SanjivAwesome on February 2, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    A typical Consultant's report that ensures we get them back for implementation of ideas for breaking up an Old Boys Club that has worked that way for more than a century. At a time when the Old Boys are losing out to the New Boys!.

  • Ozcricketwriter on February 2, 2012, 19:55 GMT

    Woolf report sounds a lot like Australia's Argus Review. I think that the Argus Review is the best thing to happen to Australian cricket and think that all individual test playing nations would benefit from a similar review. The Woolf report sounds fantastic.

  • yorkshire-86 on February 2, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    As regards the IPL, there are approximatly 360 professional and 150000 amateur cricketers in England, together with around 30000 non-playing members of the fraternity such as umpires, groundsmen, stadium cleaners, scorers, tea ladies, bat makers/retailers ect - of those 180360 people only *TWO* (Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan) get any financial benefit whatsoever from that competition.

  • on February 2, 2012, 17:54 GMT

    An excellent report. No doubt it will be binned by those with vested interests to protect but more Test Nations are badly needed. They don't need to play every other country, just others of similar strength. Other sports such as soccer, tennis and golf can do this without any difficulty, why can't cricket?

  • samincolumbia on February 2, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    All the english fans indulging in their favorite pastime re bashing BCCI - The report talked about giving greater opportunities to Associate countries !! Ask ECB to stop stealing players from Ireland and get your board to grow a spine.

  • Hrit24 on February 2, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    I can't believe it! Cricket is finally showing signs of becoming a really global game. If cricket is played in the right spirit, then it can be the most global sport of the world. Even football won't come in its way. That is brilliant news. And if it ever happens, it will be totally due to Lord Woolf and Mukul Mudgal who have initiated it. And they are also trying their hearts out in ensuring that the ICC is more democratic, with equal voting powers for Full and Associate/Affiliate members, and I like his brilliant idea of abolishing Affiliates and staying with only Full and Associates. Even if these proposed ideas don't come to fruition, these two justices will be regarded as the saviours and legends of the gentleman's game.

  • Dino11 on February 2, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Yeah,the point is are these bunch of people taking cricket to next level? No, they r busy in their own business. So let us implement the points of report and let the game grow. Ideally by now cricket world cup should be played with 24 countries, all playing with equal zest & strength. It will be great to see new countries being part of the current crop!!!!

  • KingofRedLions on February 2, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    @geepharm - You have summed up everything that is wrong with nationalistic thinking. Well done.

  • on February 2, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    In football Leagues spread all over the world. But the good thing is that leagues are played at the same time all over the world. therfore a player can only play for one team at a time not like in cricket where same players play for IPL, BBL in Australia and t20 in england. If proper t20 league is played all over the world at the same time then it will help more players to get an oppurtunity and become professionals. This will atleast help players from assosiate countries to play along side international players provided leagues are played at the same time. ICC should recognise the league like FIFA and leave atleast 3 months window. We need to make things similar on football lines. Thats the best way to develop cricket all over the world. Three months of league and Seven to Eight months of international matches between nations is the best way to regularise the cricket calandar.

  • on February 2, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    Such a shame that its taken till 2012 for someone to FINALLY say this! We associate nations have been screaming this since the 1990's !! But I am GLAD this has finally come out, personally i think the ICC needs to do away with bilateral tours, have Tri-Series and Quad-Tournaments for any of the Three formats, Regional Championships, make international cricket RELEVANT! Put pressure on teams to WIN. Test-Nations should not be allowed to play each other anymore in ODI or T20 without an Associate team involved. The game MUST spread

  • Batsnumbereleven on February 2, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    Just to point out that the article states that "Being granted Full Membership gives a country greater access to the ICC's funds" as one of the benefits of granting Full Member ship without Test status, but the report also advocates ending the specific doling out of those funds to the Full Members and retaining the money to specifically target needs.

  • Shubham18 on February 2, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    What ICC has done is just a run in the inngings. It needs another 99 runs to complete the century. It should take the power in its hands and make rules for the sake of cricket and not boards and money. Rule to have a player from an Associate Team in the playing XI of the domestic teams of all the Full Members can do a lot to spread and improve cricket all over the globe. Making it compulsory to include a Associate Team Player in the playing XI of teams in IPL, Bish Bash, County Cricket will give as much as 50 players atleast every year from Associate Teams a chance to play at the International Level of game and then their team too could progress and become a full member. ...If not World Cup 2015 ..... MAY CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019 see as many as 20 teams, each a contendor for the title competing against each other. By then even the level of cricket will improve as the gap between the 1st and 10th team would not even be more than 20 points and each win would be a result of full effort

  • Baundele on February 2, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully: You are wrong, mate. No sport will die because of India's absence from it. Currently the cricket administrators are not working on making cricket a global sport. So, India is getting this much importance. If the cricket admins can get rid of this crappy trend and make cricket a global sport - even 10% popular compared to soccer - cricket will flourish, irrespective of BCCI's stance.

  • klempie on February 2, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    Yaaaaaaaaaaawn! This is all common sense stuff...something the ICC have thus far been averse to. I wouldn't waste my breath starting a chicken count.

  • OptimusPrimal on February 2, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    @Fast track Bully; What a load of non-sense. It is true that Indian board brings in a lot of doe. But saying that current formats cannot survive without Indian money is bordering on the obscene and ludicrous. Remember, India needs cricket as much as cricket needs India... or any other of the nations that play the game. BCCI has only started to bring in big cash in the last half a decade or so. Cricket was thriving before that and will thrive afterwards too. The important thing ICC should be taking into consideration is an immediate revamp of their management system, starting with this reviews recommendation of not electing ppl like N Srinivasan who concurrently hold the position of BCCI president and ICC director... Now that is called conflict of interest!

  • Technical-1 on February 2, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    The Only Diluting will happen here.. is Diliuting of Powere Base.. Those that Choking cricket and the other nations.. will try to vice grip power and the Wolf report will pry it out of their hand in the bottle Grip!

  • Technical-1 on February 2, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    Its not about Ego, or getting your voice heard.. its about equal opportunity for all. and not a system of cast. Its not about who has the biggest purse, its about treating others as you would like to be treated.

    The Woolf report is a step forward! hopefully the powers therebe will move speedily to put these recommendations in place. Cricket is bigger than any one nation. Its a global sport, that needs global representation.

    I would ask that ICC move with warp speed to impliment these recommendations. Amen.

  • on February 2, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully Cricket survived even when there were no Indian Money into cricket. Did you forgot that?

  • geepharm on February 2, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    Salil-Chaps, this is really a veiled attempt to grab the BCCI power baton! A small question springs to mind where were these good people like Woolf when Aus and England (and SA) used to rule the cricket sea? A part of the problem is that England and its former gang members fail to appreciate that the world has moved on. Unti this memory is wiped from the former India players (eg Gavaskar say) BCCI wil not un-Baton!

  • Dino11 on February 2, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    This is excellent for the game, if the recomendations are implemented but my concern is that these recomendations are to be accepted by same set of people, who are running ICC for past few years mainly BCCI. Will they allow these changes to happen????

  • on February 2, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    If it stops the ICC from trying to kill off the affiliates with mind numbing box tick management then I am all for it!

  • Muzgrob on February 2, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    This shouldn't affect test cricket at all really, since he suggests they just be given full membership, not test status... If anything this will help tests because the countries joining and getting test status will be able to build themselves up properly and not be rushed into it like Bangladesh.

  • heathrf1974 on February 2, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    Indpendance in board direction and removal of conflicts of interest is vital for a board to serve the best interests of the game. They need to adopt this policy for the security council in the UN.

  • on February 2, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    If the ICC wants to win back respect from its members and cricket fans, it must take this report seriously and implement it. If we allow the cronyism to continue, the game will fail.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 2, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    @Baundele. They that will be the end of test cricket. None of the cricket formats can't survive without the money of Indian cricket. dare you...

  • Romanticstud on February 2, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    See my comments under http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/551721.html Added to that If you need to Pool C can be created with Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, UAE, Kenya ... And amend the rules I stated that if A pool A team loses to a Pool C team it is -10 Points and triple points for the Pool C team and a Pool B team will get -5 Points and the Pool C Double points in a similar situation to Inter Pool games between A + B pools. Then there will be a promotion/relegation game between Position 5 of Pool B and Top of Pool C. The Pool winners will all be determined by the lowest number of games a team has played ... The Latest gemes will apply ... The earlier game points will be discarded at the end of the 4 year period. Tables will be published only when all the teams have played so as to effect this, although all the records will be there, to make the records reflect only the number of games played by the least active in the Pool.

  • mikeindex on February 2, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    Bravo Lord Woolf! Why are so many people in Comments talking about diluting Test cricket when the article makes it quite clear that under the Woolf recommendations more Full Members would NOT mean more Test-playing teams? Well said D-Train too.

  • on February 2, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    This review was long overdue and am glad to see that the recommendations made are in the right direction. Hopefully the game of cricket will be revamped and game will have an global appeal rather than the current 'closed circuit' status.

  • Baundele on February 2, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    I prefer Ireland or Netherlands over India for test matches. At least, these guys can win something abroad.

  • on February 2, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    Test cricket is already diluted with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Ireland is better than both and should be playing tests now. But these countries deserve full opportunity to develop. The better associates like The Netherlands, Canada, Scotland etc will become like Sri Lanka and have great success if allowed to play test matches.

  • on February 2, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Why does it dilute the significance of Test cricket? Are soccer matches between Brazil and Argentina though of any less, because San Marino can play against Andorra? Are rugby matches between New Zealand and Australia of a lesser quality because the Cook Islands can play Poland? The top cricketing nations can play five day matches against other top cricketing nations - let's call it Division 1 Test cricket. And then the next tier could do likewise - lets call it Division 2 Test cricket

  • D-Train on February 2, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    This will be fantastic for Ireland. England would finally stop poaching their players. Obviously they're not ready for test cricket yet, but i've been arguing for a long time that they should at least be considered a full member to assist them in growing the sport and infrastructure in Ireland as well as stopping England from poaching anymore players.

  • Mogadon on February 2, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Its a great idea, Ireland/Holland etc need to have their voice heard and they need to have opportunities to play the test sides programmed in. Alas, as what is suggested is common sense rather than financially rewarding its got no chance of getting past the vested interests of those on the current ICC board.

  • on February 2, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    I think it is a good thing for International Cricket but fear that it may become a club with some old boys and some new at the expense of the other members and Cricket at large!

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 2, 2012, 8:18 GMT

    it will be interesting to see Ireland as test country than BD! go ICC... go!

  • on February 2, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    This is going to dilute the significance of Test cricket as a format of cricket.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on February 2, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    This is going to dilute the significance of Test cricket as a format of cricket.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 2, 2012, 8:18 GMT

    it will be interesting to see Ireland as test country than BD! go ICC... go!

  • on February 2, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    I think it is a good thing for International Cricket but fear that it may become a club with some old boys and some new at the expense of the other members and Cricket at large!

  • Mogadon on February 2, 2012, 9:17 GMT

    Its a great idea, Ireland/Holland etc need to have their voice heard and they need to have opportunities to play the test sides programmed in. Alas, as what is suggested is common sense rather than financially rewarding its got no chance of getting past the vested interests of those on the current ICC board.

  • D-Train on February 2, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    This will be fantastic for Ireland. England would finally stop poaching their players. Obviously they're not ready for test cricket yet, but i've been arguing for a long time that they should at least be considered a full member to assist them in growing the sport and infrastructure in Ireland as well as stopping England from poaching anymore players.

  • on February 2, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Why does it dilute the significance of Test cricket? Are soccer matches between Brazil and Argentina though of any less, because San Marino can play against Andorra? Are rugby matches between New Zealand and Australia of a lesser quality because the Cook Islands can play Poland? The top cricketing nations can play five day matches against other top cricketing nations - let's call it Division 1 Test cricket. And then the next tier could do likewise - lets call it Division 2 Test cricket

  • on February 2, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    Test cricket is already diluted with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Ireland is better than both and should be playing tests now. But these countries deserve full opportunity to develop. The better associates like The Netherlands, Canada, Scotland etc will become like Sri Lanka and have great success if allowed to play test matches.

  • Baundele on February 2, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    I prefer Ireland or Netherlands over India for test matches. At least, these guys can win something abroad.

  • on February 2, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    This review was long overdue and am glad to see that the recommendations made are in the right direction. Hopefully the game of cricket will be revamped and game will have an global appeal rather than the current 'closed circuit' status.

  • mikeindex on February 2, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    Bravo Lord Woolf! Why are so many people in Comments talking about diluting Test cricket when the article makes it quite clear that under the Woolf recommendations more Full Members would NOT mean more Test-playing teams? Well said D-Train too.