ICC news June 27, 2013

FICA to refer ICC vote to ethics officer

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The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) claims it has evidence of captains being pressured by their boards to change their votes from Tim May to Laxman Sivaramakrishnan during the vote for player representatives on the ICC cricket committee in May. FICA has confirmed it will refer the matter to the ICC ethics officer for investigation after waiting in vain for the ICC to do so.

The ICC responded with a statement expressing its "anger and disappointment" at what it described as FICA's "confrontational stance". It denied claims of inaction made by Paul Marsh, the new executive chairman of FICA, and said that there had in fact been "several weeks of discussions" between the two bodies.

At the vote in early May, Sivaramakrishnan was elected to the committee ahead of the incumbent, May, who subsequently stepped down as chief executive of FICA. However, the voting process was strongly criticised at the time by FICA and Marsh has said that it will refer the matter for investigation.

"FICA has tried all we can to get the ICC to refer this matter to the ethics officer themselves, however after more than six weeks of no action we are left with no choice but to refer the matter ourselves," Marsh said. "We have evidence of captains being pressured by their boards into changing their votes away from the incumbent player representative on the committee Tim May, in favour of Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and we will present this to the ethics officer.

"The evidence is strong and we expect it to be acted upon. It is extremely concerning and disappointing that the governing body of our sport has refused to follow its own processes for dealing with allegations of unethical behaviour.

"Sadly this is yet another example of the poor governance practices that exist in cricket. The ICC should be taking these allegations incredibly seriously but instead they are ignoring the processes under their own code and hoping the matter will go away."

Late on Thursday, however, the ICC issued a statement condemning FICA's course of action, saying it had been under the impression that a meeting between senior ICC executives and board members and FICA's chief operating officer, Ian Smith, on Tuesday had progressed to the satisfaction of both parties.

"It was mutually agreed with the FICA representative that major progress had been made to resolve any perceived deficiencies in the ICC cricket committee election system and we believed that, at the end of the meeting, we were close to reaching an outcome that was acceptable to the players and their representatives," the statement read.

"Sadly, within no more than 48 hours of those constructive talks - without reverting to the ICC - FICA's executive chairman chose to issue an emotive press release, which we believe was a breach of trust of the processes and protocols agreed at the London discussions. We also believe that this confrontational approach is not in the best interests of the game or the players worldwide, who perform so admirably in all formats.

"ICC are angry and disappointed that Mr Marsh chose to notify ICC of this change of direction only at 1.31am UK time on Thursday and then issued their misleading statement at 4.30am on the same day - when all board members and executives, in London for ICC annual conference, were asleep. These actions do not reflect the spirit in which ICC and, we believed, FICA entered into what appeared to be meaningful and productive dialogue nor reflect a willingness to work together to provide a satisfactory conclusion to this issue."

The FICA board met in London last week and decided on its course of action, and also put together a document it called a "Statement of Unity" that was signed by all players from Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies who played in the Champions Trophy. FICA has sent a copy of the statement to the ICC.

"We, the players, are privileged to represent our countries at the highest level at ICC events and in bilateral Test, ODI and T20 cricket," the statement said. "We are committed to upholding the traditions of the game, and to maintaining the highest standards of sportsmanship and integrity. In return, we expect to enjoy the right to collective representation through player associations, a right enjoyed by the players of every professional team sport worldwide.

"We support FICA as the voice of professional cricketers everywhere, and expect it to receive due recognition and respect by the ICC and our respective boards as it plays its role in representing our interests. We further expect cricket's administrators to ensure our great game is managed off the field to the same high standards of dignity and integrity as those to which we are committed."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on June 29, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    If ICC were really concerned about the welfare of Cricket, the sport would have gained worldwide popularity like football, tennis, etc.

  • dummy4fb on June 28, 2013, 16:17 GMT

    If FICA has the evidence, why don't they come out with it? Why don't the 'coerced' captains speak up?

    As scandals go, this is a non-starter. Tim May is an also-ran and has hardly done or achieved anything of consequence. FICA is an non-essential organization draining resources to provide salaries to ineffective officials servicing a few players. A world player body it is not.

    This whole issue is a waste of everybody's time. I am outta here.

  • Harry_Kool on June 28, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    @Harmony111. You don't get it, do you my friend. The first round of voting was along the guidelines but it didn't please certain quarters and a re vote was ordered & in this time it is alleged that boards put pressure on captains to alter their vote. It was this process that FICA is raising concerns estalishing that they have evidence of manipulation. If there is nothing to hide and all is above board, then you should be welcoming the chance to vindicate the ICC. Why try to hide behind innuendo, let an idnependent body review & come up with the findings.

  • baboossat on June 28, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    @Chris_P: Could you please care to explain me what does this 'Statement Of Unity' means? and What does that that statement has to do with this incident? Does this 'Statement of Unity' states that all players who signed this statement indicate that they wanted Mr.May as their representative in the ICC? And did actually Mr.Marsh actually told the Players that he was going to use this statement for this purpose? If not, then good luck Mr. Marsh. @Yorkshire Pudding: does Mr.May have this RECENT extensive knowledge of CRICKET at all levels? @Shuriam: Where were you during 90s mate?????

  • YorkshirePudding on June 28, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    @SpizenFire, I do agree there is an element of politics being played here, but by who it remains to be seen. Again it goes to the heart of why the ICC didnt refer this straight away to the Ethics committee when it was raised in june, but have continued to filibuster over the issue and dodge any attempt to refer it.

    For me a Palyers representive should be an individual that reperesents the players, ideally an ex-player recently retired who understands the issues that modern cricekters face.

    As at the moment the current 'players' representative seem to be just a 'yes' man who hasnt played any form of cricket since 1987 and had a mediocre career when he did play.

  • SpizenFire on June 28, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    @Shuraim: No one is against FICA, if it does deliver what it claims. In this particular situation, it is coming across as favoring one candidate over other, insinuating power play as the reason.Which might be true again. But the fact remains that this is not a new thing in cricket especially ICC and all other boards. So his claims at best sound desperate to retain something ... In my opinion this has got nothing to do with cricket. But is all cricket politics and power game . And please spare me the argument of ethics etc ... unless you can prove to me they have been followed in majority of situations in ICCs history or any boards. To suddenly stake a claim for that when you do not have powers of the past are nothing but .....

  • Chris_P on June 28, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    @SpizenFire Talk it up all you want pal, but if you want conclusion with this then let the ethics officer do whatever his position demands. There has only been openness by one party here. Yes 7 out of 10 countries signed, that is a majority in any democratic society I would suggest. I believe there is a lot of squirming going on within the ICC on the outcome of this.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 28, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    @SpizenFire, the FICA is a an umbrella body that covers players associations from 7 of the 10 boards, this includes, the PCA (England/Wales), ACA (Australians), CWAB (Bangladesh), SACA (South Africa), SLCA (Sri Lanka), WICA (West Indies), NZCA (New Zealand), the only players whose Associations are not represented exclusively from the full members are India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.

    In regards to this comment : "I find it very very very hard to believe that some English players would not like to play IPL", what has this got to do with the issue, if anything the PCA (England) gained a number of concessions from the ECB to allow English players to take part in the IPL, provided they are picked up by the franchise.

  • Shuraim on June 28, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    No surprises why only indian fans are against FICA coz it will ensure their dominance over cricket administration even so it sounds unethical apparently. Hope this gets published.

  • SpizenFire on June 28, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    I find it very very very hard to believe that some English players would not like to play IPL. But then everyone knows of ECBs position. So the question is, what has FICA done about it and do the players really have an option (no pressure) to choose. How come they have never picked this obvious issue, but, are harping on and on about Mr. May? Feel certain boards are manipulating FICA ..... which I think is a much bigger issue.

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