India news January 23, 2014

BCCI puts ICC events on the line

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ugra: Cricket gives in to BCCI's blackmail

The BCCI today virtually served notice on any ICC Full Members opposed to a makeover of the ruling body, indicating that India's participation in ICC events was subject to approval of the radical draft proposal by the ICC's executive board. The proposal recommends a structural overhaul of the ICC and proposes bigger revenues and more executive decision-making powers to the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the ECB.

The BCCI, in a three-point release following an emergent working committee meeting in Chennai, said the committee had formally approved the proposal, terming it as being "in the interests of cricket at large". The message as regards ICC events was then sent out to the other members, stating that the committee has "authorised the office bearers to enter into agreements with the ICC for participating in the ICC events and hosting ICC events, subject to the proposal being approved by the ICC board".

The BCCI's working committee also cleared the way for its leading officer bearers to sign bilateral agreements with all other Full Member boards, including Pakistan. The draft proposal contained commitments from the ECB and Cricket Australia over legally-binding bilateral agreements with eight Full Members. The absence of such a guarantee from the BCCI in the draft document had raised apprehensions among smaller boards who subsist on tours from India. Such a commitment could not have been made by the BCCI without approval of the its working committee, a formality completed on Thursday. While the ECB and CA have committed to undertake tours to the top eight countries, in principle, the BCCI's proposal covers all Test playing nations.

"We have never said that it [the draft proposal] was set in stone or a 'take-it-or-leave it' proposition," a BCCI official said. "It is clear that it is a draft and members can discuss it with their respective boards and it can be discussed in the ICC board meeting." The draft proposal will be presented to the ICC executive board during its quarterly meeting in Dubai on January 28 and 29.

It is also understood that the draft proposal, put together by a working group of the ICC's Finance & Commercial Affairs committee was open for discussion and amendments as long as the BCCI's central plank - redistribution of the ICC central revenue being proportionate to the income generated through each member board - was not diluted.

The BCCI working committee was insistent on not yielding ground on the matter revenue distribution. The proposal recommends a maximum allotment of 21% of the ICC's revenues to the BCCI on the grounds that Indian cricket helps generate 80% of ICC's global revenues. The draft proposal, when handed out to the Full Member nations at a specially called board meeting in Dubai on January 9, did not however contain any supporting documentation for its current revenue distribution percentages or future estimates.

The ICC's current broadcast deal expires after the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand but the new tender document for media rights cannot be floated without the all the member boards signing the Members Participating Agreement. The BCCI has made that signature conditional to the re-organisation of the ICC, which automatically implies that no progress on the broadcast deal will be possible till this proposal is cleared.

Cricket South Africa is the only board to have publicly opposed the proposal, and the Pakistan Cricket Board have made their opposition privately known. The West Indies Cricket Board is yet to make a statement, but was engaged in a teleconference over the week and has stated that it has "taken a position in the best interests of West Indies cricket". It is understood to be negotiating a deal with the Big Three. Cricket South Africa argued the idea was "fundamentally flawed" and "in breach of the ICC constitution", while New Zealand Cricket said it was wrong to jump to the conclusion that the proposal would be bad for cricket. FICA, which represents player associations in seven of the ICC's ten Full Member countries, declared itself "extremely concerned" with the proposal.

One of the key governance changes proposed in the position paper, pertained to the creation of a proposed Executive Committee (ExCo) - a security-council style group with three permanent members, the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the ECB. While the Big Three will insist on being founding members of this committee, the possibility of enlarging it from the recommended four to more could be discussed. "It must be understood however that this another committee just like an F&CA committee that currently works under the IDI (ICC Development International), the ICC's commercial arm," the BCCI official said. "It will report to the ICC board, which will have the right to approve or reject its recommendations." The draft states that the ExCo will act as a "sole recommendation committee … on all constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, development and nominations matters".

The BCCI working committee meeting, which took place in Chennai, was chaired by one of the board's vice-presidents Shivlal Yadav, in the absence of BCCI president N Srinivasan, who could not attend due to the death of his mother early on Thursday morning. It was not Yadav who did the talking, though. Sundar Raman, the IPL chief operating officer, explained the details of the 'position paper', outlining the revamp of the ICC and why it was necessary. The proposed revenue model, according to which India stood to earn a bigger percentage of the ICC earnings, was also explained to the members.

The other big advantage of the proposal, Raman highlighted, was that India could be more free to negotiate bilateral series with another Full Member instead of being obliged to follow the FTP. The members were also made aware that under the new structure India would host at least one ICC tournament almost every two years, further enhancing its financial strength. Most BCCI members were happy to hear about the move to deal directly with other countries' boards, which would result in India hosting more international cricket. It was explained to the committee that with this move the BCCI can take even Test cricket to the new stadiums in the country, with one committee member stating that "all the unutilised stadia in the country will be able to host more big matches".

The document was drafted by a "working group" of the ICC's Finance & Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee comprising Giles Clarke of the ECB, Wally Edwards of Cricket Australia and N Srinivasan of BCCI, who were assisted by a clutch of commercial executives: Dean Kino (general manager of legal and business affairs, Cricket Australia), John Perera (commercial director ECB) and Sundar Raman (chief operating officer, IPL). Kino and Raman also form a two-man technical committee in the Champions League T20, one of the world's wealthiest cricket tournaments. It happens to be one of only three committees listed on the tournament website.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on January 26, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    ICC should give back BCCI and India their long due.. BCCI's demand is completely justified.. After all its India's money..

  • dummy4fb on January 26, 2014, 15:19 GMT

    BCCI if you dont want to take part then leave.... its time that the rest of the world stop giving in to this bully of world cricket!!! Do they really think Indias participation is so important in ICC events.... A world cup ago they weren't even in the super 6!!! The cricket loving public of India will still follow cricket, they will be first ones to make their point put across to their own board!

  • WeldonHosten on January 26, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    Cricket has seen better days with less resources. I remember in the 80's test cricket was a 5 series item played by all the full members agains each other almost every 12 months. With the new found wealth that has since changed with more test matches being played by India, England, Australia and South Africa among themselves. I am not sure if this is an effort to weaken the oother team by starving it out of competitive cricket but certainly the West Indies has suffered over the years from lack of good competitive cricket. What the BCCI has proposed is nothing more than a total hijacking of the game. Maybe they have gotten to big to stay within the ICC and should leave voluntarily. They have enopugh people to play league cricket. often times we forget that our best players and status is not just a making of the board and country but it is through competitive playing at the highest level that brings out the skills in a player.

  • dummy4fb on January 26, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    It's look like a rubbish. Get out INDIA from ICC.

  • Neel_123 on January 26, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    "why does BCCI need more money at the expense of other countries? "

    Because it has to create and maintain the infrastructure for 1.2 billion people in a massive country as oppose to other tiny islands of few million. And also because they generate this money. As simple as that.

    Counter questions: a) How long BCCI should financially support other corrupt & efficient boards around the world and why?

    b) BCCI is not perfect, neither are other cricket boards. Despite supporting 6-7 cricket boards for such a long time, all BCCI gets from these boards' fans is blind hatred of BCCI (and India as a country). So, why should BCCI not use its money for betterment of other sports in India.

    c) If today ICC refuses to give BCCI its FAIR share of revenue, tomorrow ICC would blackmail India for demanding a share from India's domestic earning (as was proposed by Tony Graig in his speech). Say NO to Blackmail BCCI. You have full support of Indian cricket fans!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 26, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    People fail to realize that majority of Indians love Indian cricket but not world cricket. That just can't change. Will not change. Yes, there are lots of Indians who love Cricket. But that is a minority within the Indian populace. IF India gets isolated, whether IPL is real cricket or not, whether BBL is real cricket or not - they all disappear into oblivion. Indian Cricket as perceived by majority of Indians will not only survive but will thrive like never before. How many of you guys watch NFL, NBA and all that American stuff? They were, are and will continue to be strong. Indian Cricket and IPL will continue to grow no matter you call it real cricket or not. The money is real, at the end of the day. No? Simon Doul put it perfectly the other day looking at the massive Indian crowds for the third ODI. He asked where were all these spectators when NZ was playing Windies. And then he concluded that Indians are lovers of Indian Cricket but not Cricket. I can't agree more. Bulls-eye!

  • EashwarSai on January 25, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    @PrasPunter. Hate to break it you. But most Indian cricket watchers care only about Indian players. If the only cricket on TV is the IPL with mosty Indian players, they have no choice but to watch it. Indian cricket does not need the ICC or other countries. A NFL style IPL would bring a lot of revenue and most importantly the money would stay in India and create jobs here. And who cares if an Aussie or Englishman thinks it is not 'real' cricket. This 'isolation' would be good for Indian cricket and economy by developing more local players.

  • dummy4fb on January 25, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    Mushfiqur rightly says so... After building infrastructures, stadiums, first class cricket competitions, age based teams, hosting ICC tournaments when an emerging nation starts to win ODI matches home and abroad (where as many established teams still find winning difficult outside the country) and drawing the test matches , all of a sudden ICC thinking of forcing this emerging nation to play in the continental cup to increase the level of that continental cup........but they are denying the fact that they are destroying the dream of this new cricket nation, destroying the cricket future....and we are so disappointed to see that all the cricket greats are silent in this issue, some are talking but only in favour of their country ......It seems that it is safer and easier to deny the future of cricket of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe... so no one bothers....but ICC should know millions of Bangladeshis are disturbed with this draft proposal.

  • karan1609 on January 25, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    The fact that India contributes 80% of ICC's revenues is a shame on the 'global' game of cricket... Also considering the per-capita of India, its a shame on India to contribute so much on a sport.. Its only fair that at least 21% of it comes to India.. Cricket isn't bigger than India...

  • karan1609 on January 25, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    BCCI contributes 80%, whereas asking only 21%. And people raising a hue and cry over it?? I am shocked it doesn't get this much till now ...