ICC's revamp plans January 27, 2014

Atherton condemns Big Three plan

ESPNcricinfo staff

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

  • Jon 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.

  • Shyam 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.

  • Nicholas 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!

  • Dummy4 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!!

  • Sky 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...

  • Realist 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.

  • adeel 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!!!

  • Furqan 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.

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

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

  • Dummy4 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

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