Indian Cricket League April 18, 2009

ICL's bid for recognition rejected

Cricinfo staff

The ICC has rejected the Indian Cricket League's application for official recognition and has said the status of the league's players will be decided by individual member boards.

The decision was taken by the ICC at its board meeting in Dubai on Saturday. The application had been filed last year by the ICL, which is owned by India's largest media group, Zee Telefilms, and is not recognised by the Indian board or the ICC.

A statement from the ICC said it had examined the application against existing criteria for approving such requests, including whether the home board's approval had been secured.

"The board gave the matter careful consideration but, looking at the criteria set out in the regulations, felt the application for approval could not be granted," the ICC's chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, said.

Asked about the legal implications of the decision, Lorgat said: "If it becomes a legal action we will take it as it comes and will not make any comments on that."

"It's absolutely unfair and extremely disappointing," Kiran More, an ICL board member, told Cricinfo. "We will now definitely take the legal route for resolution of this issue. We could have done that earlier but were hoping for a fair decision from the ICC." The ICL, he said, was planning to approach courts in the UK, where stringent trade laws prevail.

On the issue of players returning to official cricket from the ICL, the board said the fabric of the game needed to be protected and a clear message sent out that players could not swap between official and unofficial cricket at will.

However, it was confirmed that the nature and scope of any sanction would ultimately be a matter for each individual member to determine, based on local conditions.

"It's a very unfortunate decision from a player's point of view," Deep Dasgupta, the former India wicketkeeeper who plays for the ICL's Royal Bengal Tigers, told Cricinfo. "To us, the official approach has always seemed a bit monopolistic. Over the last year, we used to wait eagerly for every such ICC meeting, hoping for a positive solution. But every time, it has been very disappointing. At the end of the day, we just want to play cricket, period."

The decision comes three days after the ICL announced that the third edition of its domestic tournament would be held in October. There was no mention, however, of the ICL World Series, in which national XIs are pitted against each other, a competition that had the ICC worried last year because it had the potential to develop into an alternate World Cup.

The ICC's stand essentially reiterates its position of last year, when it left the matter of sanctions against players to the individual boards, most of whom chose to ban them from all forms of official cricket. However, there were some exceptions like New Zealand, which has allowed some of their ICL players to play in domestic cricket.

Pakistan had initially imposed a complete ban on its ICL players but was then directed, by a court order, to let them play in the domestic circuit this year. The Pakistan Cricket Board then mooted the idea of allowing ICL players who are ready to cut all ties with the league to return to international cricket after a 'cooling period' of 6-12 months.

England, on the other hand, had a number of ICL players in the county circuit last year but they have since been eased out. The Indian and Australian boards have adopted the most stringent stand against the unofficial league, banning its players from all official contact.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Franklin on April 23, 2009, 10:47 GMT

    The formation of the ICL and the IPL has in a way been some kind of a blessing in disguise. Something that could (if we are ready to think out of the box) make both leagues strongly competitive. Consider the format of league football in England. There are 20 teams in the Premier League and 20 teams in the First Division (or Championship). There are even lower divisions but this explanation emphasizes only 2. At the end of every season, the 3 worst performers (teams finishing in the last 3 positions) of the Premier League are relegated to the Championship while the top 2 performers and 1 team among the next 4 top performers of the Championship go to the Premier League. Now we just need to map the IPL and ICL to these two leagues. I would certainly map the IPL to the EPL and ICL to the Championship - that's it problem solved. Hope everyone is still listening - especially Mr Lalit Modi and Mr Subash Chandra. Please think out of the box and set aside egos - it will surely benefit cricket!

  • Muhammad Ouns on April 20, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    This is poor from ICC to ban ICL. At the end of the day its just Cricket for what they all are playing for and providing good quality cricket for us . ICC should reconsider this and accept ICL warmly with open arms.

  • Harish on April 20, 2009, 8:58 GMT

    I completely agree with venkat_75r. It is as simple as that. Unless there is a collaboration of both BCCI and ICL into one board/company/etc, I dont think ICL players can be taken back by any home boards of ICC. Also, Mr Venkat had made a very valid point, how do you develop cricket by playing 20-20 once in a year? I think of all the comments on all the articles on cricinfo or elsewhere so far on ICL, these comments by Venkat has been the most precise and to be acknowledged with praise. Anything else by anyone else in any forum will just be a waste of time and mind!

  • Hashaam on April 20, 2009, 4:56 GMT

    This reminds me of the old Gore Vidal saying "its not enough to succeed, other must fail"

  • Ajay on April 19, 2009, 19:28 GMT

    BCCI contols cricket in world as it major income generator for cricket in world. So ICC will go as per BCCI guidelines. ICL have no chance to get official recognition unless BCCI agrees. Courts in India will not able to deliver judgement as BCCI is chaired by Sharad Pawar and everyone knows how court decisions in India are influenced by politicians. BCCI does not want any competition like all businesses ran in India and also unfortunately there are loopholes in anti monopoly laws. I feel sad for ICL who came up with idea and was stolen by BCCI. Only way to get ICL recongized is boycott all IPL games and get hurt BCCI finacially.

  • Aashish on April 19, 2009, 19:16 GMT

    It would be an amazing thing if ICL and IPL both have their winning teams play each other. Something like here in the USA where you have AFC anf NFC in NFL. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a SUPERBOWL of Cricket? Only if there was no politics and lot of money involved, every cricket loving person on this earth would definitely want this to happen.

  • venkat on April 19, 2009, 14:58 GMT

    Rubbish,ICL shouldn't be recognised by ICC. ICL is a rebel league in opposition to ICC and BCCI. ICC cannot recognise two bodies from the same country. Players should not be allowed to represent both ICL and ICC. It's simple logic that you cannot work for two employers at the same time. But ICC should take in players after a cooling in period say 6 months or a year. ICL wants to have it's cake and eat it too.If you are a rebel league don't request recognition from the governing body. Prove that your own league is superior to the official league and you can have your own official body. ICL is gaining support for one simple reason that is a indian rebel league, the whole cricketing world wants to see India's downfall because it has all the wealth. If a rebel league has been formed in Australia or England or Newzealand people would have voted it down completely. Just for record i love both ICL and IPL but ICL should grow on it's not look for recognition from ICC which it is opposing

  • R on April 19, 2009, 14:10 GMT

    It is very simple. BCCI is an employer and the players playing for them are their employees. ICL is another company (a competitor to BCCI). As employees of BCCI, the players do not have right to work for another company (ICL). They can do so by resigning from BCCI and join ICL. That is what lot of players did. BCCI was right in ignoring them. Which employer will accept an employee working in two companies at the sametime. BCCI is a part of ICC (assume as a parent company). An employee of BCCI directly becomes employee of ICC. So, how can you expect ICC to recognise ICL (who is not part of BCCI). The players joined ICL because they were paid lot of money just like an employee resigns and joins another company. ICL was created just because ZEE did not get the television right. The talking of developing cricket is just an eyewash. How can you develop the skills just by playing 20-20 cricket and that too once in a year.

  • Satya on April 19, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    I say IPL is jus copy of ICL.. Actually BCCI has to praise ICL for making such idea.. Really it is funny that Kapil's idea making money for BCCI.. ICC has to shame for such decision. Where ICC is thinking to promoting cricket or just making money out of it. It is shame for ICC and shame for the cricket to obstructing someone willing to play for their countries.. Shame for everyone Indian to raise their voice against ICC and BCCI.

  • MehulG on April 19, 2009, 13:46 GMT

    Why dont ICL inspire other countries to prepare a league or board and create their own form of ICC board as well, that works parallel to current system? These are playing their personal game. They can form a cricket and play agianst each other as well just like one ICC format and another ICF format - International Cricket Federation.

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