ICC's revamp plans January 27, 2014

Atherton condemns Big Three plan

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Michael Atherton, the former England captain, has condemned proposals to put power to run international cricket in the hands of India, England and Australia as the end of an idealistic notion that the game can be run for the benefit of all nations.

Atherton writes in the Times that the plan represents "the end of the notion that a fair and principled and just body can govern cricket in the interests of all.

"It is an ideal, of course, that has never been grounded in any kind of reality under the guise of the ICC, but if you cannot be idealistic about sport, what can you be idealistic about?"

Atherton gives some credence, if reluctantly, to the view that England and Australia feel they have no choice but to grant India power in a way that will encourage them to run the world game responsibly - and even suggests India has now been affected with the arrogance of old colonialism.

"The tone of the proposal is so arrogant and high-handed as to recall an earlier age when the organisation began as the Imperial Cricket Conference," he writes.

Atherton is scathing about governance in world cricket. "No one doubts that the status quo, as far as the ICC is concerned, is unacceptable: two full-member countries are thought to be corrupt; four are essentially broke; most rely on India's largesse to keep going, while the BCCI is disgruntled that the distribution of revenues does not reflect its provenance.

"Politics, race and personalities interfere with decision-making at every turn. Incompetence is a given; at a recent ICC meeting, I was told of one director who took to snoring through an anti-corruption presentation."

Atherton said that the recommendations of the Woolf report to place power in the hands of an independent executive - a solution championed by the former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, who was soon removed from office - would have been the most idealistic solution.

"The best that can be said for this deal, indeed the only thing that can be said for this deal, is that India become a fully engaged and interested party to world cricket. Inside the tent and happy for the moment, rather than prowling outside and angry."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jb633 on January 28, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    I am incredibly worried about the state of the global game and have been for the last 5 years. In a business sense, you cannot blame the BCCI for wanting to have the fair share of revenue. Undoubtedly they bring in the largest income and therefore want a greater share of the profits. However, from a sporting sense this idea is like a slow car crash. It is obvious this will kill off the countries like WI, SL, NZ and BD. No English, Indian or Australian fans want this. The world wants competitive series that are well supported. Imagine if we had more back to back Ashes. Nobody wants that at all. I really hope these proposals and a two tier system do not materialise. There is only one side in the world who wins away from home so who is to say who the best sides even are (excluding SA). The ratings basically reflect who has been playing at home recently and are constantly changing series on series. It is interesting for fans to watch their sides playing different teams all the time.

  • symsun on January 28, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    Throw away all business man from all top posts. Cricket should be managed with people who can manage the game in true spirit and must be headed only by sportsperson (may be cricketers or other sport players or umpires or referees). Business man spoils everything be it cricket or politics.

  • njr1330 on January 28, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    To anyone who supports the 'Big 3' position... Just read Andy Zaltzman's piece... Then have the decency to go out and shoot yourself!

  • on January 28, 2014, 10:17 GMT

    ICC is nowhere near to FIFA when talked about their role in expanding the scope of game ....FIFA works its best in globalizing football, but ICC always intends to confine cricket within the box of few test playing countries...with this new draft , ICC is sure to shrink further....ECB,CA and BCCI when get mixed becomes ICC. shame on it!!

  • SkyClean on January 28, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    Salute you Atherton of England.

    Didn't hear from Indian and Australian 'greats' ... may be there is none or may be they are politicians/businessmen cum "greats" ...

    Happy that BCCI gave this chance for us to know who is what ... or else we wouldn't be knowing...

  • Practical_person on January 28, 2014, 5:17 GMT

    If CA and ECB do not go with BCCI? What stops BCCI from creating a US style league system and increasing the number of franchises. They will earmark the best players from across the globe and pay them well to take part in IPL. Glenn Maxwell is getting USD 1 million and he is not a great player. India has the market right now. Can we expect all cricketers to be idealists? I believe this proposal is required for preservation of cricket in its existing form. However, what is crucial is accountability of the funds generated by India and other boards. How are they using it to nurture the domestic games and identify talent. Transparency is necessary for use of funds since it is ultimately the fans that generate revenue. I believe funds should be also be set aside for development of cricket in other emerging countries. India too were discriminated in the past when CA and ECB had veto power and refused to tour India unless they received a financial guarantee. It always pays off to be generous.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on January 28, 2014, 5:03 GMT

    its not a surprise that many indian fans/people side with this proposal sighting "bcci earns the most and hands out to others". now if you think about it, if FTP was adopted fairly with all 8 nations playing each other once home and away, without having these useless 7 odi series between them, i'm sure rest of the poor boards would be able to generate more fund wouldn't they!!!

  • Thathal on January 28, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    Very Well said Mike Atherton, but what are you going to do about it. Ehsan Mani is shouting, Maclom & gray have raised concerns, majority of the fans are disgruntled, but will it affect the decision of the ICC board. I think not.

    Hard measure should be taken instead of just making statements. If you really love cricket as a game, it is important you stand up against this proposal, otherwise cricket will be lost forever, maybe not in this generation or the next, but surely in the generations to come.

    May God save cricket.

  • couchpundit on January 28, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    @ Noni - Lets just say Athers have seggregation views and all his anger comes out of that.

  • on January 28, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    if this get past all the other cricket board should pull all of there players from IPL,big bash and county cricket and the players them pull out too and back each other stop used cricket gears from india,england and austrial

  • jb633 on January 28, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    I am incredibly worried about the state of the global game and have been for the last 5 years. In a business sense, you cannot blame the BCCI for wanting to have the fair share of revenue. Undoubtedly they bring in the largest income and therefore want a greater share of the profits. However, from a sporting sense this idea is like a slow car crash. It is obvious this will kill off the countries like WI, SL, NZ and BD. No English, Indian or Australian fans want this. The world wants competitive series that are well supported. Imagine if we had more back to back Ashes. Nobody wants that at all. I really hope these proposals and a two tier system do not materialise. There is only one side in the world who wins away from home so who is to say who the best sides even are (excluding SA). The ratings basically reflect who has been playing at home recently and are constantly changing series on series. It is interesting for fans to watch their sides playing different teams all the time.

  • symsun on January 28, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    Throw away all business man from all top posts. Cricket should be managed with people who can manage the game in true spirit and must be headed only by sportsperson (may be cricketers or other sport players or umpires or referees). Business man spoils everything be it cricket or politics.

  • njr1330 on January 28, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    To anyone who supports the 'Big 3' position... Just read Andy Zaltzman's piece... Then have the decency to go out and shoot yourself!

  • on January 28, 2014, 10:17 GMT

    ICC is nowhere near to FIFA when talked about their role in expanding the scope of game ....FIFA works its best in globalizing football, but ICC always intends to confine cricket within the box of few test playing countries...with this new draft , ICC is sure to shrink further....ECB,CA and BCCI when get mixed becomes ICC. shame on it!!

  • SkyClean on January 28, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    Salute you Atherton of England.

    Didn't hear from Indian and Australian 'greats' ... may be there is none or may be they are politicians/businessmen cum "greats" ...

    Happy that BCCI gave this chance for us to know who is what ... or else we wouldn't be knowing...

  • Practical_person on January 28, 2014, 5:17 GMT

    If CA and ECB do not go with BCCI? What stops BCCI from creating a US style league system and increasing the number of franchises. They will earmark the best players from across the globe and pay them well to take part in IPL. Glenn Maxwell is getting USD 1 million and he is not a great player. India has the market right now. Can we expect all cricketers to be idealists? I believe this proposal is required for preservation of cricket in its existing form. However, what is crucial is accountability of the funds generated by India and other boards. How are they using it to nurture the domestic games and identify talent. Transparency is necessary for use of funds since it is ultimately the fans that generate revenue. I believe funds should be also be set aside for development of cricket in other emerging countries. India too were discriminated in the past when CA and ECB had veto power and refused to tour India unless they received a financial guarantee. It always pays off to be generous.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on January 28, 2014, 5:03 GMT

    its not a surprise that many indian fans/people side with this proposal sighting "bcci earns the most and hands out to others". now if you think about it, if FTP was adopted fairly with all 8 nations playing each other once home and away, without having these useless 7 odi series between them, i'm sure rest of the poor boards would be able to generate more fund wouldn't they!!!

  • Thathal on January 28, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    Very Well said Mike Atherton, but what are you going to do about it. Ehsan Mani is shouting, Maclom & gray have raised concerns, majority of the fans are disgruntled, but will it affect the decision of the ICC board. I think not.

    Hard measure should be taken instead of just making statements. If you really love cricket as a game, it is important you stand up against this proposal, otherwise cricket will be lost forever, maybe not in this generation or the next, but surely in the generations to come.

    May God save cricket.

  • couchpundit on January 28, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    @ Noni - Lets just say Athers have seggregation views and all his anger comes out of that.

  • on January 28, 2014, 2:58 GMT

    if this get past all the other cricket board should pull all of there players from IPL,big bash and county cricket and the players them pull out too and back each other stop used cricket gears from india,england and austrial

  • on January 28, 2014, 2:38 GMT

    Thanks Michel. All should have equal rights. England has not won even a Wold Cup. It is very unfair to neglect WI, PAK and SL. We are not agree with draft proposal. All should have equal rights.

  • on January 28, 2014, 0:46 GMT

    Cricket is dead if this goes through ... "this just isn't cricket".

  • on January 27, 2014, 23:56 GMT

    inside hedge...do me a favour. of course all the criticism is directed at the bcci. they're the guys that have come up with the idea.

    it's a disgraceful idea that will result in cricket dying a death in the majority of countries.

    in 20 years do you want to have meaningful series against two countries or ten? people will become bored of the national game and it'll slowly die in all countries.

    invest in as many countries as possible. make them as competitive as possible. if, in 20 years, bangladesh are winning series, they'll contribute more to the icc, and therefore the bcci won't have to pay so much.

    with this proposal, india will have to put more money cos the other countries will have gone to play football instead.

  • on January 27, 2014, 23:23 GMT

    Cricket was soo good when people used to come wearing suits and clapping at every good cricketing shot was played, since its been taken over by asians specially indians it becomes their bread and butter. shame on BCCI i thinks its a matter or their ego i wish chinese were good cricket team ,

  • Alexk400 on January 27, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    Continued... I do understand sustainability. How much you give free money to all cricket boards...its like taking water out of leaking boat. Never ends. I think having good competition allows cricket fans yearns for more of it. Less competitive teams , it gets boring with one sided affair. If cricket wants to be reached to many countries , it needs better management. We have to have one powerful executive who can put cricket above all else. if the executive can not come from poor nation how cricket going to balanced? Big three wants to keep themself in dominant position in moneywise and talent wise forever. Republicanism (trickled down economy) vs Democrats (Socialism -share wealth). What we need is something in middle that satisfy everyone. To do that , ECB,SA,CA,NZ and WI boards shoud unite. :)

  • vish2020 on January 27, 2014, 23:17 GMT

    I give 80 percent of what household income is and if i ask to keep little more for me then family members get disgruntled and i am the bad guy??? i just dont understand this. BCCI is right

  • Alexk400 on January 27, 2014, 23:10 GMT

    There is always fight between good and evil. Yin and Yang. Two tier is evil because its not just. Creativity do not happen under threat. Trickle down economy concept is pure evil. Also force to share the wealth is kinda disease. But in order to solve that by making themself judge and jury and executioner of cricket is not the way to go. India want to have more say iin how cricket is run so they can make more profit. How much is enough ? Greed has no limit. I think ECB and AUS toeing down to BCCI greed is bad for cricket. I think BCCI creating class warfare by creating two tier just like its society. This is not the things flourish. This is like choking down the growth and stangleholed on all poor cricket countries. They made SA to beg for Two TEST and it become regular affair if this two tier implemented. This should not be allowed to happen.

  • JetsFanInDenver on January 27, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    I have read a ton of comments on this. SO i need to address the various lines of thinking: Firstly the idea its a money grab. No its not. Expecting more of what you earn in your pocket is a free market concept. Secondly the idea that India should be allowed to leave ICC and the world of cricket would just be fine.No it would not be fine. Because if India leaves so would the 80% of world cricketing revenue it generates. Third point being this will severely damage world cricket. Thats will not happen. The hope is its a wake up call for countries where cricket boards severely mismanaged and they get their act together and work for development of cricket in their countries. Plus it allows four more countries the motivation to get to the next level. Ireland, Afghanistan and many deserving countries who would have a platform to prove themselves. All in all good for cricket!

  • on January 27, 2014, 22:58 GMT

    As Amer suggested let england Australia and India play each other, indian fans will be fed up in 2 yrs after being thrashed 3-0 5-0 away and winning at home in one sided series, while SA, SL WI Pak Nz can play each other not as rich as others but will have certainly interesting cricket

  • sid09 on January 27, 2014, 22:41 GMT

    Folks, lets just remember a few things when India (and other 3rd world countries) were not a financial cricket power:

    1) They toured India infrequently; 2) When they did, their best players refused and were granted exemptions. Bradman only played in England and Australia. But, he is the "best" batsman ever! Playing the same bowlers and on the same pitches for his entire career. Yay! 3) Up until 1994, sub-continental and West Indian umpires were paid 1/3 of Western umpires even though they worked for the same org (ICC) and did the same job; 4) When it came to the executive non-Western participants had little or no say in how things were run.

    Having said this, I dont think India should follow the mantra of an eye-for-an-eye; however, they should receive the lion's share of the profit as it comes mainy from India. A fair and reasonable compensation structure should be drawn up with an eyr to provide adequate development funds first to countries like West Indies, Bangladesh, Zim.

  • xmahinx on January 27, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    Obviously Mr Atherton is right. His point of view is logical. Cricket is a game of world not for specific race or country. Its not about how much India, Australia and England are supporting by financial. They must know, the way cricket's popularity these days, other counties ( SA, PAK, SL, NZ, WI, BAN, ZIM ) brought cricket as popular game in this world. If ICC makes it in two part by politics, race and personalities then Cricket will lose its main attraction from the world. Why should cricket will play in two separate way??? Where is democracy in cricket world??? Why should they interfere just because for money??? If money is everything then why they need to play international match??? and What if they (BCCI, CA and ECB) would get same treat from other countries like, SA, WI or NZ then what they would do?? Will they accept this rules???

  • on January 27, 2014, 21:14 GMT

    @InsideHedge - by the "lazy 5", you mean India, Australia, England, South Africa and Sri Lanka? The countries who refuse to play 3 test series?

  • on January 27, 2014, 21:08 GMT

    Excuse my ignorance, but can someone please enlighten me about the "handouts" and since when are the other 5 "Lazy."

  • Bonehead_maz on January 27, 2014, 21:05 GMT

    An ambit claim that includes a built in giveaway over relegation rules. Non relegation is so alarming it can act as the Red Herring to achieve what is wanted - POWER. India pays most of the money for cricket. Not The BCCI..... it is Indians with television sets that matter. What those Indians choose to watch is what is revenue. There is one simple answer to every cricket fan - do everything you can to help develop cricket in China.

  • xmahinx on January 27, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    Obviously Mr Atherton is right. His point of view is logical. Cricket is a game of world not for specific race or country. Its not about how much India, Australia and England are supporting by financial. They must know, the way cricket's popularity these days, other counties ( SA, PAK, SL, NZ, WI, BAN, ZIM ) brought cricket as popular game in this world. If ICC makes it in two part by politics, race and personalities then Cricket will lose its main attraction from the world. Why should cricket will play in two separate way??? Where is democracy in cricket world??? Why should they interfere just because for money??? If money is everything then why they need to play international match??? and What if they (BCCI, CA and ECB) would get same treat from other countries like, SA, WI or NZ then what they would do?? Will they accept this rules???

  • InsideHedge on January 27, 2014, 19:29 GMT

    The draft proposal has put the fear of God into the majority of the Full Members ie the Lazy 5. Despite the huge handouts, they've done little or nothing to develop the game, esp first class cricket, in their respective countries.

    This proposal actually guarantees the safety of Test cricket which is under huge threat in all the Lazy 5 countries. Reciprocal tours are guaranteed, more money has been guaranteed to all the members. A two tier Test league adds excitement and gives opportunities to the Associate countries to reach Test status in a clear, defined manner.

    The only tweak that's in need is doing away with the guarantee of non-relegation for Eng-Aus-Ind.

  • InsideHedge on January 27, 2014, 19:23 GMT

    Oh I say Athers! Well said old chap!

    Yup, no surprise that all the criticism is directed at the BCCI and both England/Australia are portrayed as poor souls who are going along with the proposal for the good of the game.

    There's little or no outrage in the English media, I suspect it's the same in the Australian media too.

  • SinSpider on January 27, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    I am shocked to see why so many people are against this proposal. Cricket, like many other sports, is driven by finance and business initiative. As I understand it, no other country supports cricket as much as India does. No other cricketing board spends as much as BCCI does.

    England, Aus, SA, NZ are not poor countries per se but their priorities are different. Their cricketing boards do not want to spend a lot on cricket, so be it. Nobody is complaining.

    I think it is fair to say that profits should be shared according to the investment made.

  • on January 27, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    Personally, and may be I am in the minority, but I have had enough of cricket shenanigans. The rest of the world should call their bluff and let India, Australia and England play each other. The rest will bumble along poorer but better. Not sure how interesting world cricket will be without SA, Pak and SL. If the troika things otherwise they will get a rude shock in a year or two of unending three pronged round robin games!

    If this is the beginning of the end of cricket as we know it then so be it. Better it dies now than inflicting continuous pain on its true fans.

  • M.gundroo on January 27, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    We live in a world were rich want to be even richer, at least some of them.We did not have any such issues when there was limited pot of money to share between ICC members. More matches and high value events need to held in other test playing countries for betterment of cricket.What is even more shocking is ECB and CA have gone to bed with India to protect their own interest and even worse these three can not be relegated irrespective of their performance, i can recall mighty WI of 70 and 80s.If corruption is an issue perhaps ICC headquater should have remained in England for all its transparency than Dubai

  • Adnan-Ahmed on January 27, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    The BCCI has already made cricket a product rather than a sport, especially with the blatant discrimination against Pakistani players from joining the IPL while the rest of the players stay quiet as their pockets are sufficiently filled.

    This move to monopolise cricket must not come to fruition.

  • Noni on January 27, 2014, 17:18 GMT

    Does Ather forgot how India and some other countries were treated 20-30 years ago by English/Aus boards. Same way that BCCI is asking now. Might is Right.

  • sadSajith on January 27, 2014, 16:15 GMT

    The basic argument is, "We make more money for ICC, so we should have given more power and money".... well like to see if India/BCCI can survive without other cricket playing nations...Will indians come to ground to see India vs India A, or IPL without foreign players... Give it 1 year and there will be nothing left as Indian cricket... Indians, you are watching cricket not because your team is playing, because your team is playing against other teams, so who says you earn that money alone, it is because of other teams too...Without the other cricket playing nations, indian team will be nothing...

  • on January 27, 2014, 16:14 GMT

    This is a defining time for cricket...if this proposal is accepted, then it's going to be downhill for cricket...I am pretty sure the other top teams will financially have no impact or may even have a increased income...the lesser cricket playing nations such as nepal,afghanistan,kenya,holland and others will become extremely weak financially and cricket will not be able to progress at all in these countries...and if the power is completely concentrated to the 3 boards, the other countries won't play cricket that much,the big events will only be played in these countries.. now, if this happens even the top revenue generating nations will have cricket on a decline...slowly but surely cricket will die out...

  • on January 27, 2014, 16:00 GMT

    Cricket will be dead without India's involvement. No more handouts. This is time to look how to improve Cricket within your own country without too much dependency on one country.

  • Fozfer on January 27, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    The BIG THREE forgot to mention that in all ICC events 3 spots will be filled by BIG THREE in the semi-finals and rest of the teams can fight for the one remaining spot. Consequently, in case there's only one team in the final from BIG THREE - that team will automatically become the winner!

    Such a joke this is!!!

  • yorkslanka on January 27, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    Well said Athers, the momentum to get this silly proposal scrapped is building well...

  • nursery_ender on January 27, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    I still reckon the 'power grab' has been put forward to be knocked down, allowing the revenue redistribution to be accepted as the 'compromise'.

  • StaalBurgher on January 27, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    This is what Western altruism will get for itself in all spheres of life.

  • akkers5 on January 27, 2014, 14:44 GMT

    Say in 2010 they decided the same of Manchester United; that they would take a lions share of the profits and could not be relegated because they were so powerful and good. Whats happens now that Manchester United are on the slippery slope down? Should they continue to keep that protection (hypothetically)? India cannot hope to rule the cricket world forever and it is a matter of time before other countries can stand up financially. Shame to those countries that are making bed with India because they feel weak.

  • on January 27, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    This highlights a worrying divide in the game between those that are purely interested in cricket as a product that generates revenue, and those who are interested in cricket as game to be enjoyed across the world. Of course the sport should not be run as a loss making entity, but by ceding so much control and power to three bodies (or the BCCI + 2, more accurately) it threatens the sport's global appeal simply to appease the three biggest powerbrokers.

    I can understand the ECB's and CA's conundrum, but if they had taken a stand against BCCI bullying and united with the rest then you'd still have a global sport being run in the best interest of the majority.

    Now the risk is that cricket will become an Indian plaything to suit their preferred forms of the game that bring in the most rupees (T20). Cricket administration needs greater independence, not even more concentration of power by fewer controlling interests. I hope these proposals are quashed and common sense prevails.

  • on January 27, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    Don't disagree with having cricket leagues. But do disagree with the Big 3 getting all the rights and say over cricket. Why can't we have a structure that will allow for development of the minor countries that play cricket for the passion of the game as well as having the professional top level of cricket develop stronger.

  • fair_paly_1 on January 27, 2014, 14:30 GMT

    Maverick_26 I agree to a certain degree about your point on revenue sharing but don't forget partnerships can have different scenarios, rules and agreements. Less profitable members can have larger share due to some other contribution they may have made ie performance - in this case their standing in the table in different formats. So they need to agree on a balance on revenue matter.

    But the most detestable point in the draft is that the three cannot be relegated. Surly no one can be serious on this. I think it's just a bargaining tool so they can all agree on the rest of the proposals.

  • MCC_Tie on January 27, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    Now for the Pollocks, Pontings, Akrams, Laras, Muralis and Streaks of this world to stand up and be counted. World cricket cannot give way to BCCI.

  • on January 27, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    @Maverick_26 The whole sorry proposal is beautifully summed up by you in eight words - " Cricket isnt a sport played by 50+ countries"

    It is. It's a sport played in some form across much of the globe. But the attitude that prevails (and is neatly summed up but your claim) is that the rest of the world doesn't matter. That the millions who play cricket outside of India,England and Australia don't matter. We do.

    There are 107 members of the ICC. Currently 97 are dismissed and ignored by the other 10. Under the new proposals, 104 will be dismissed and ignored by the other 3

  • Reg_Dyer on January 27, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    It's worth pointing out to Michael that the point in all this is not simply an excuse to be 'idealistic', but to decide the best way of running international cricket. And in that case there are certain realities that need to be observed by all parties, and a retreat into idealism is not therefore helpful.

  • Big_Chikka on January 27, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    atherton speaks the truth, and should be applauded for speaking up about the inherent biases existing in the game.... if you ever hear him on state school cricket in the uk, opportunities etc one feels he speaks for the love of the game............... cricket is used by the state for a purpose, if it becomes purely commercial, i cannot see how it will ever become anymore popular than say baseball. yes it may earn franchise owners cash and be viable for shareholders, but that's it.

  • on January 27, 2014, 13:58 GMT

    Michael Atherton, a man of morality and principles as always, waiting for a response from Jeff Boycott a truthful pro same as Atherton. Wish somebody from India speaks out, many great and well wishers of game are there

  • on January 27, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    I believe that more senior players should show some responsibility towards the betterment of the game like M Atherton has done.

  • RoshJ on January 27, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    Gosh...a flash-back...is it another of those M&A projects for Indian juggernaut as they did with Jaguer, land-rover etc...but this time "acquiring" all the cricket boards??

  • Maverick_26 on January 27, 2014, 13:43 GMT

    This is a tricky one. Cricket isnt a sport played by 50+ countries. And the 8-10 which play this sport only 3 are actually making any money for everyone involved. In my opinion everywhere in life you get what you work for. Unless you are some saint who is content and just does things for others with no expectations.

    IND alone generates so much money for ICC which all the other boards put together cannot generate. So, this division of profit is inevitable to an extent. Its not a family where the man works to feed the wife and all the children. And if someone feels sport is just sport and money shouldn't be considered a virtue of decision making then he/she is living in LALA land.

    Thing i dont agree with is the clause which says that IND, AUS & ENG are protected from falling down the Tier 1 group. I say that because if the profits are distributed according to who generates more, then that country should be in a position to spend that money to develop skilled players anyway.

  • shenhere on January 27, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Agree with Atherton. In all fairness, there is no doubt that Indian matches in India do bring in large crowds, I have watched large crowds in Tests in India. But that's India's matches in India. Check the crowds in the recent ODI series of England in Australia. Believe it or not, one side of the ground was completely empty (check pics on google), and I couldn't believe it. So how come Australia and England get to be in the "League of 3", whereas Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka who have been filling UAE stadiums for the last 5 yrs do not get a fair shot? Bear in mind, a few years ago, IPL actually happened in South Africa!

  • T20Fun on January 27, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    Patrick Clarke, great points. The revenue sharing, FTP, etc. are minor details when compared to granting the three countries relegation-immunity. It strikes at the very heart of playing the game fairly. If any of the three are not good enough to be in the top-tier then they ought to be relegated.

  • Atish_Man on January 27, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    The irony is the matches that we should win, we are loosing (onfield). And the match that we r trying to win at any cost, we shouldnot even play that.(off field)

  • on January 27, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    they should keep it to revenue. who is generating more should get more. but leave other matters out of it

  • Atish_Man on January 27, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    @ PrasPunter Thats true. Anil kumble and Rahul Dravid have given lectures at MK Pataudi memorial about the bcci's governance of world cricket. Both have asked for more responcible approach from bcci.

  • reality_check on January 27, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    If BCCI had approached this and said "We deserve more money because we generate more money" then fair enough. I don't think anyone would object to it. BUT to add clauses in where FTP is scrapped and all decision making will be done by three boards and they are immune from any relegation is what people have hard time digesting. It is not fair to cricket in general and seven smaller boards in particular.

  • on January 27, 2014, 12:58 GMT

    Departing from competitions being decided on merit undermines their credibility. It is the road to abuse and corruption. No one in soccer proposes that Manchester United, Liverpool, AC Milan & Inter are guaranteed a place in the Champions League each season. If India, England & Australia with all their built-in advantages can't stay at the top of the tree on merit, why should they have built-in protection? There also seems to be a hidden agenda against South Africa, currently the best side in the world, not just in these proposals but also the way they have been in other matters in the last year or two. Further, what secret deals have India, England & Australia reached over things they're known to disagree over such as DRS, the IPL etc. This is just the tip of a very unsavoury iceberg.

  • on January 27, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    Well I don't mind if these 3 big guns get their pie bigger as they are the chief revenue generators but giving them the veto power will harm the game. Power to run ICC should be pretty much balanced and Proteas and Pak will have to play their role to keep everything in balance.

  • on January 27, 2014, 12:51 GMT

    I agree with atherton completely. What tests cricket needs is some hard cricket which last till the last session too many games ending in 3-4 days. In recent ashes only 2 tests went onto last day with one of them ending in first session. The ashes game was between a no 2 and a no 3 side and it ended 5-0 so its not like games are more competitive in games amongst top 4. On other hand the smaller teams suffer as they don't play against big 3. As atherton said money talks. To me day night test matches need to be organised. ODI's and T20's get high viewership for this reason - as people can watch at home from work. Can't do that with tests. Earlier tests were rare so people were prepared to skip an occasional day/week to watch it. Now they are very common that people can't afford to compromise their professional/educational life.

  • keptalittlelow on January 27, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    Atherton we salute you for speaking out the honest truth. If BCCI gets its way, the taste of the things to come can be gauged from BCCI ruthless treatment of the former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, the man who supported the Woolf report, which was contrary to BCCI power grab ambitions.

  • Nazmulj7 on January 27, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    I agree with you dear Fayyaz Asghar.

  • keptalittlelow on January 27, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    So much has now been said and written against these BCCI-ECB-CA proposals that It is now well and truly established by all the right minded and sincere people that these proposals are not drafted for the good of the game in mind, lets vote them out and move on. If weaker boards like WI, BCB considered only the short term benefits for themselves or were frightened by BCCI to vote in its favour then this sport is doomed.

  • fair_paly_1 on January 27, 2014, 12:28 GMT

    Its time all professional cricketers should speak up against this dictatorship, Bravo Atherton! Even as a commentator, you have always been unbiased and a gentleman.

  • PrasPunter on January 27, 2014, 12:27 GMT

    @Naresh28 , if that is the case, my respect for Kumble has gone up by several notches. Could hardly believe this. Someone in the indian cricketing fraternity speaking up against the bcci ? Bravo.

  • wirus on January 27, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    I've seen Atherton play some lovely innings but this is by far his best. He is right all the way and should be commended wholeheartedly. However, I fear that big business will win in the end, as it always does. Some insignificant little compromise will be made but this plan in essence will be approved. How painfully ironic that our troops die on foreign soils supposedly for the cause of democracy whilst back home we scheme to stop others from having it. Is there no shame left in anything?

  • zzby on January 27, 2014, 12:19 GMT

    It is not matter of ruling the cricket, the matter is smaller countries cannot play with big three.

  • Naresh28 on January 27, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    INDIAN FANS ARE BY AN LARGE AGAINST THIS!!!! Only true ex-players should run ICC. Lets see what ex-Indian players say about this. A few months ago KUMBLE was vocal about the way BCCI is run like a business.

  • cricsure on January 27, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    Strange that so many people are coming up with criticism about this proposal when for decades cricket has always been ruled by 2 or 3 boards, just because it is now being formalized and those boards are being made accountable seems to have woken everyone up.

  • Lion83 on January 27, 2014, 11:53 GMT

    we need more voices like this hat off!!!!!!!!!!

  • dreamliner on January 27, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Props to Michael for his comments, which serve to remind the BCCI, ECB and CA of the views held in large by the majority of international boards, players and fans. Never thought Michael would be the first from England to give his take, much respected, and I certainly hope the rest have just as much integrity as Michael to say it how it is, and not play in to the hands of the 'Rich 3' - better reference than big 3, because there is nothing big about them when it comes to integrity and diplomacy in cricket. But regardless of the reaction or outcome, going public and stating your belief is whats setting aside the 'spined' from the spineless. I for one will remember the first ex-players to speak out against this proposed Armageddon for cricket, and my respect and appreciation for the so-called legends and All Time Greats of the game will only continue to exist for those that come forward and give back the voice that Cricket gave them et al Boycott? Nasser? Beefy? Waugh? Ponting? Warne?

  • on January 27, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    The only thing Atherton has wrong is his claim that: "the only thing that can be said for this deal, is that India become a fully engaged and interested party to world cricket. Inside the tent and happy for the moment, rather than prowling outside and angry." It doesn't even do that. Any country (most likely India given the BCCI's control over local broadcasting) can refuse to tour if it objects to the host broadcaster (so objecting to David Gower is a decent reason to cancel a tour but objecting to Robert Mugabe is not). If cricket is not vigilant it could end up with every tour having Ravi Shastri-like commentators (ie commentators who toe the Board's line).

  • contrast_swing on January 27, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    "It is an ideal, of course, that has never been grounded in any kind of reality under the guise of the ICC, but if you cannot be idealistic about sport, what can you be idealistic about?"

    Very well said. I think with this Atherton has stated how the game should governed, managed and organised.

    I hope more player will come out to oppose this 'deal' and there will be a better beginning for the governance of Cricket internationally and nationally.

  • on January 27, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    This is shame on the Big 3 they are going to kill Cricket, fans will stop following it . I am from India and I don't like this at all. Hope it doesn't happen. Officials should act in best interest of sport and then think about ways of getting revenue out of it

  • CricketisKing on January 27, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    As it is said "those who have the gold makes the rules and the rest have to toe the line". I am not saying the draft is the right solution. At the same time the ICC should be disbanded. It has become an impotent and spineless organization. I have never been in favor of the FTP. Bilateral agreement is the way to go. Forcing two countries to play each other is ridiculous. As for the monetary part, Cricket is big business now and each board is a company. They have to look at the bottom line. Whatever ideas are put forth someone is not going to be happy. I see a lot of posts bashing India, England and Australia. The countries have nothing to do with what the boards are proposing. Please don't bash India or England or Australia. If you want to bash, bash BCCI, CA and ECB.

  • on January 27, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    In case the big three plan is approved, that is the real day of "death of cricket - A game of gentlemen". It will be a shame for all cricket loving persons.

  • malepas on January 27, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Finally some more voice of reasons from former greats, I don't think BCCI is driven for more money, I think it is for more power and control, we already seen some signs of what to expect last SA tour, this myth about 80% is totally inaccurate, what BCCI is doing that it calculating the "total revenue" add up to ICC even by a media house which wants to show its viewers an Ashes series or SA v PAK match and paying out to the other media house for broadcasting rights and the money which then gets paid out to ICC as a share of it,,, this is nothing to do with BCCI, people needs to understand,, BCCI is not a "STATE" who controls all the companies and lots of them are multinationals in India and their revenues streams are subject to their interests based on what sells,, if for example, India don't play world cup, Indian viewers would still want to see matches and broadcasters would be buying the rights from ICC to do that,, yes, the money will be less but it wouldn't be the end of the world

  • A.SOFI on January 27, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    I think people are being blindfolded with the current economics of world cricket and are thinking of riches and not sport. What was the reason behind West Indian Greats coming to fore, It was not modern economics. Not to mention of teams of Jardin And Don . I think Atherton is correct about the fact that one can afford to be idealistic in sports. Do not make your goal to make individuals rich. Just make sports richer by encouraging more to play sport rather than shooing them away. What is happening in unfathomable. I still cannot believe it

  • Aura123 on January 27, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    More cricket legends like Atherton need to come forward to save the lovely game of cricket

  • on January 27, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    true. i am shocked the ICC would come up with or endorse something like this. the proposal is against the interests of cricket in general. If BCCI wants a larger cut of the revenue, then give it to them. but why would you give any 3 or any single cricket board the power to decide who plays whom, when, and where?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on January 27, 2014, 10:55 GMT

    true. i am shocked the ICC would come up with or endorse something like this. the proposal is against the interests of cricket in general. If BCCI wants a larger cut of the revenue, then give it to them. but why would you give any 3 or any single cricket board the power to decide who plays whom, when, and where?

  • Aura123 on January 27, 2014, 10:57 GMT

    More cricket legends like Atherton need to come forward to save the lovely game of cricket

  • A.SOFI on January 27, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    I think people are being blindfolded with the current economics of world cricket and are thinking of riches and not sport. What was the reason behind West Indian Greats coming to fore, It was not modern economics. Not to mention of teams of Jardin And Don . I think Atherton is correct about the fact that one can afford to be idealistic in sports. Do not make your goal to make individuals rich. Just make sports richer by encouraging more to play sport rather than shooing them away. What is happening in unfathomable. I still cannot believe it

  • malepas on January 27, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Finally some more voice of reasons from former greats, I don't think BCCI is driven for more money, I think it is for more power and control, we already seen some signs of what to expect last SA tour, this myth about 80% is totally inaccurate, what BCCI is doing that it calculating the "total revenue" add up to ICC even by a media house which wants to show its viewers an Ashes series or SA v PAK match and paying out to the other media house for broadcasting rights and the money which then gets paid out to ICC as a share of it,,, this is nothing to do with BCCI, people needs to understand,, BCCI is not a "STATE" who controls all the companies and lots of them are multinationals in India and their revenues streams are subject to their interests based on what sells,, if for example, India don't play world cup, Indian viewers would still want to see matches and broadcasters would be buying the rights from ICC to do that,, yes, the money will be less but it wouldn't be the end of the world

  • on January 27, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    In case the big three plan is approved, that is the real day of "death of cricket - A game of gentlemen". It will be a shame for all cricket loving persons.

  • CricketisKing on January 27, 2014, 11:20 GMT

    As it is said "those who have the gold makes the rules and the rest have to toe the line". I am not saying the draft is the right solution. At the same time the ICC should be disbanded. It has become an impotent and spineless organization. I have never been in favor of the FTP. Bilateral agreement is the way to go. Forcing two countries to play each other is ridiculous. As for the monetary part, Cricket is big business now and each board is a company. They have to look at the bottom line. Whatever ideas are put forth someone is not going to be happy. I see a lot of posts bashing India, England and Australia. The countries have nothing to do with what the boards are proposing. Please don't bash India or England or Australia. If you want to bash, bash BCCI, CA and ECB.

  • on January 27, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    This is shame on the Big 3 they are going to kill Cricket, fans will stop following it . I am from India and I don't like this at all. Hope it doesn't happen. Officials should act in best interest of sport and then think about ways of getting revenue out of it

  • contrast_swing on January 27, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    "It is an ideal, of course, that has never been grounded in any kind of reality under the guise of the ICC, but if you cannot be idealistic about sport, what can you be idealistic about?"

    Very well said. I think with this Atherton has stated how the game should governed, managed and organised.

    I hope more player will come out to oppose this 'deal' and there will be a better beginning for the governance of Cricket internationally and nationally.

  • on January 27, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    The only thing Atherton has wrong is his claim that: "the only thing that can be said for this deal, is that India become a fully engaged and interested party to world cricket. Inside the tent and happy for the moment, rather than prowling outside and angry." It doesn't even do that. Any country (most likely India given the BCCI's control over local broadcasting) can refuse to tour if it objects to the host broadcaster (so objecting to David Gower is a decent reason to cancel a tour but objecting to Robert Mugabe is not). If cricket is not vigilant it could end up with every tour having Ravi Shastri-like commentators (ie commentators who toe the Board's line).

  • dreamliner on January 27, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Props to Michael for his comments, which serve to remind the BCCI, ECB and CA of the views held in large by the majority of international boards, players and fans. Never thought Michael would be the first from England to give his take, much respected, and I certainly hope the rest have just as much integrity as Michael to say it how it is, and not play in to the hands of the 'Rich 3' - better reference than big 3, because there is nothing big about them when it comes to integrity and diplomacy in cricket. But regardless of the reaction or outcome, going public and stating your belief is whats setting aside the 'spined' from the spineless. I for one will remember the first ex-players to speak out against this proposed Armageddon for cricket, and my respect and appreciation for the so-called legends and All Time Greats of the game will only continue to exist for those that come forward and give back the voice that Cricket gave them et al Boycott? Nasser? Beefy? Waugh? Ponting? Warne?