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FICA to refer ICC vote to ethics officer

Brydon Coverdale

June 27, 2013

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Paul Marsh, Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive, 2013
Paul Marsh: "We have evidence of captains being pressured by their boards into changing their votes" © Australian Cricketers' Association
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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."

FICA response to ICC statement

  • After the ICC issued its media release on Thursday, FICA responded with the following statement from Paul Marsh: "The ICC's media release is a disappointing attempt to deflect attention from the real issue here. The clear facts of this matter are that FICA has evidence that boards pressured captains into changing their votes in the process of electing the players' representative to the ICC Cricket Committee. We believe this is a clear breach of the ICC's own Code of Ethics.
  • "We asked the ICC to follow their own processes and independently investigate this matter more than six weeks ago. They have refused to do this and instead have tried to get FICA to accept a compromised approach that would ensure this matter isn't independently investigated by the ethics officer. We have refused this approach based on principle.
  • "Given that the ICC won't refer this matter to the ethics officer, FICA is now trying to do so directly. Whilst the ICC have expressed anger and disappointment at what they perceive to be a 'confrontational' approach from FICA, we are simply trying to do what the ICC is obligated to do themselves.
  • "If the ICC is confident that its directors have acted in a manner that is in accordance with their own Code of Ethics then they should have no concerns with allowing this investigation to run its course."

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

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Posted by   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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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?????

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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 .....

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by SpizenFire on (June 28, 2013, 10:20 GMT)

What a load of rubbish arguments! FICA is players representative body, which does not represent all the cricketers to start with. And by implication of 'statement of unity' (having formed an exclusive club), FICA claims those who signed the document (how important :), were actually presessurised by their boards to agree to Mr. Laxman over Mr. May. The elections were fair, but, the voters were pressurised to vote!! And without pressure the voters would have made a sensible decision of NOT electing Mr. Laxman?? So the focus is on one particular candidate, Mr. May. Wonder what stakes he has in FICA? Surely players interests are not taken care of by antagonising ICC?? Or, did he ask the players on what he really intended to do with 'Statement of unity'. A breach of trust or abuse of trust!! Mr. Paul Marsh, you are sounding dubious with your claims and making me wonder what really are the stakes here. Sounds personal ......

Posted by Nutcutlet on (June 28, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

Will Mr Dave Richardson, CEO of the ICC, kindly stand up & make an *unequivocal statement, without fear or favour*,to clarify this situation? I have my own suspicions as to why his silence is becoming increasingly deafening. Others may hold a different opinion, but either way that silence needs to end very soon, otherwise the feeling that he can't actually speak without fear or favour will begin to look increasingly justified. BTW, I count seven countries whose players have signed the Statement of Unity (7/8 of those involved in the CT) & that of course means 7 out of the 10 countries that play Test cricket. That is a strong, united, majority being critical of the ICC's stance/ lack of transparency/ inertia on this issue so crucial to the FICA? Something's apparently changed in recent months then, hasn't it? I think we can all work that one out. Pls publish!

Posted by MartinC on (June 28, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

If there is no problem with the process of the election which has been referred to the ethics committee the ICC should have no problem with what has happened. That the ICC DO have a problem with this situation being referred suggests there is a problem.

Interesting.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 28, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

Surely if there was nothing wrong witht he original vote then there should be nothing for the ICC to fear from an investigation in the allegations, true or false.

The ICC's lack of movement on the issue suggests that they have something to fear.

In regards to the Election of a player respresentative on the ICC surely the players representative should be someone with recent extensive knowledge cricket at all levels, eg Dravid, Strauss, Ponting, Lara, as they are best able to put forward the players views and concern based on recent experiences.

Posted by Englishguru on (June 28, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

Further to Harmony111's comments, if an allegation has been made that the rules were not followed then that allegation should be addressed in a timely manner, irrespective of anyone's thoughts on the validity of the allegation: that's for the investigation to determine. It is also contrary to most legal processes for FICA to make public the evidence which should be presented to the ethics officer. We are not judge and jury.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2013, 8:38 GMT)

Why Tim May is very particular about this Job? Bottom line FICA has to accept the democratic process. FICA can stand upside down , but nothing is going to change. Please publish

Posted by Englishguru on (June 28, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

FICA requested an investigation into allegations that some board directors acted unethically, according to ICC rules, in the recent voting. The ICC (singular, please, because it is the ICC as a single body which is responding) has moved to get FICA to agree to changes in the rules, and complained that a talk-fest on that subject was supposed to be addressing FICA's concerns.

Can no-one else see that they are talking about different things?

FICA's request was not based on the rules needing changes, but on a lack of application of the existing rules. Changing the rules afterwards does not investigate breaches of the rules before the changes. It doesn't matter that the FICA response to the ICC was received at 0131: the investigation into the allegations should have been started as soon as the complaint was received.

Posted by Harmony111 on (June 28, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

So now the level two of the canard has begun. First FICA claimed that Tim May had one the 1st round of voting & the 2nd round of voting was conducted in an unfair manner. ICC clarified that the it was in fact the 1st election held in Jan that was not done as per the procedure and so a FRESH election needed to be held in May where when when strict rules were adhered to Siva defeated Tim May. There was no first & second round of voting, it was FRESH elections that nullified & voided the previous unfair elections.

After that claim of FICA was busted, they have now started saying that they have SOLID evidence of manipulation. If so then please show it to us. It sounds dishonest when FICA all sort of allegations publicly but withholds the evidence. It means they are keener in raising dust and planting stories rather than actually bringing the truth out.

It is to be noted that each time Tim May's loss is mentioned it is also mentioned that May is/was FICA chief as if the two are connected.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2013, 7:23 GMT)

@FICA If you have the evidence of Captains being pressured by their boards then go public. Let the public know the truth. If you can issue statements signed by Captains, then what's stopping you from revealing the evidence to the press. I think that will put pressure on ICC to act. @jmcilhinney: don't blindly support FICA. they notified their change of course of action to ICC at 1.31 Am UK time and they would surely know that ICC's annual conference is going on in UK and all the members will be present there and its not appropriate to expect response from anybd at 1.31 Am. What's prompting them to release a statement within 3 hours without even getting a reply from ICC.For ex. Its like two countries were involved in a negotiation/talks over some dispute, suddenly one nation changes its stance and decided to inform the other nation during midnight and without waiting for reply, they release a statement to press that they are going to UN for next process. Will you still call it Ethical?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 28, 2013, 5:23 GMT)

@guptahitesh4u on (June 28, 2013, 4:56 GMT), that's 4.30 AM UK time. Is the FICA office that issued the statement in the UK? Probably not. It was probably regular business hours in that office when the statement was issued.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 28, 2013, 5:18 GMT)

@agam99 on (June 28, 2013, 2:42 GMT), the fact is that the boards were expressly forbidden to do so. Why make the rules if their being broken is going to be ignored? This was a vote for the players representative so if the votes are going the way the boards want rather than the way the players want then it's not a players representative and the whole thing is a farce. If FICA is living in a parallel universe where rules are expected to be adhered to then it's a better place than this.

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (June 28, 2013, 4:56 GMT)

Talking about ethics and then issuing a statement at 4.30 Am...Interesting, isn't it?

Posted by agam99 on (June 28, 2013, 2:42 GMT)

Are these FICA guys living in parallel world not expecting boards to guide/influence their skippers for such votes. Which organisation wouldn't do so ? Think practically rather than 'gung ho' over such incidents.

Posted by Smithie on (June 27, 2013, 21:49 GMT)

It is telling to see which countries' players did not sign the "Statement of Unity" Is that an indication as to who has been " influenced" in the past. Now I wonder if the ICC Board voting pattern would follow the same lines. If so there is less urgency to get Ireland as full ICC member. When the cat is away the mice will play. Be very careful Mr Srinivasan.

Posted by Chris_P on (June 27, 2013, 21:33 GMT)

If there isn't a problem or nothing to hide, why not let the ethics officer review the process? And the ICC says FICA is being obstinate citing FICA with a "confrontational stance"? Well guys, there was an issue put forward & you did nothing to respond, what do you want them to do? I could say more, but this won't be posted, hopefully what I have posted will. Cricinfo please publish.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (June 27, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

ICC inertia, arrogance& lack of transparency? Remind you of any other cricket-related body? You always wonder who pulling whose strings. But that's the thing about puppets, you never see who's making the puppet dance, but you might have an idea who's paying the band for the music it dances to. Pls publish!

Posted by ThyrSaadam on (June 27, 2013, 20:32 GMT)

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 - Which means if they win they do not represent India, and Pakistan. Good luck FICA.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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