TNCA questions Manohar's Big Three stance
The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has taken strong exception to recent comments made by BCCI president Shashank Manohar with regards to the constitutional revamp carried out at the ICC under the chairmanship of his predecessor N Srinivasan. Srinivasan is the president of the TNCA.
TNCA secretary Kasi Viswanathan has written a letter asking Manohar whether he had told the ICC board that he was willing to dilute the BCCI stake on powerful committees of the world body and revise the contribution costs the BCCI was supposed to gain from the formula worked out by the Big Three, which was approved in 2014.
Manohar, who replaced Srinivasan as ICC chairman, has noted in the past few months that he does not agree with the Big Three boards - the BCCI, the ECB and CA - "bullying" the rest of the ICC.
At the last ICC board meeting in Dubai in January, Manohar suggested to the Full Members that the he would speak to the BCCI about the possibility of giving up about 6% of India's 22% share of ICC revenues back to the world body. Manohar had made both these statements in a personal capacity.
Viswanathan questioned how Manohar could make such statements without having discussed and explained the reasons first to the BCCI members. The letter, accessed by ESPNCricinfo, and sent on February 15, was also addressed to BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, joint-secretary Amitabh Choudhury, treasurer Anirudh Chaudhury, the five vice-presidents of the board and all its full members.
"Is it true that you have made any statements in the ICC giving up BCCI's permanent membership in the ICC Committees?," asked Viswanathan. "Have you made any commitments to the ICC on BCCI's share of contribution costs? If the answer to one or both of the above questions is in the affirmative, kindly let me know under what authority have you taken this decision when this matter has not been discussed in either the Working Committee meeting or the General Body meeting of BCCI held recently?"
The TNCA letter came up for discussion at the BCCI special general body meeting, held in Mumbai on Friday. According to a member of the Srinivasan camp, Manohar told him the seven Full Members in the ICC (Bangladesh, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies) along with Cricket Australia told him that they supported undoing the revamp carried out by the Big Three.
"He [Manohar] said he never committed to asking for less money and that he hasn't given up [BCCI's rightful share]," the Srinivasan camp member said. "He said: 'In order to protect our interests, instead of giving up 21 percent, I said I will share something and make sure we get at least 16 to 17 percent. That's the deal I want to do.' He told me that."
The member also said Manohar had told him he had not committed to any definitive figure during his interactions with the ICC board members on what percentage the BCCI was willing to give up. "He told me: 'I can assure you I never mooted this idea. I told them I can't take a decision without consulting the members'."
Without naming Srinivasan, Viswanathan impressed upon Manohar that after being ignored for "several years" by the ICC, the previous BCCI administration had worked hard to "achieve important breakthroughs" for Indian cricket. Viswanathan even listed three specific achievements.
The first was a BCCI nominee being elected as the inaugural ICC chairman when the previous rule would have meant the BCCI nominee's next turn at the ICC presidency would have only come in 2023 under the then prevailing rotation system. The second was the BCCI having a permanent seat on the powerful Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee and on the Executive Committee of the ICC. "Thirdly and above all, ICC saw reason and logic in BCCI's demand for a higher share of the broadcast income of ICC. All of these were discussed and approved by the Working Committee of the BCCI on 23rd January 2014," Viswananthan wrote.
Viswanathan noted that it had come as both "shock and surprise" to read Manohar's comments that he wanted to "dilute" the second and third points. "To our collective shock and surprise, possibly pandering to some dissenting media press report regarding this matter, it appears that in your recent meeting of the ICC held in Dubai last week, you have made some suggestions to the ICC Council by which the second and third points above referred are sought to be diluted, if not removed altogether."
Viswanathan explained the revised formula under which the Big Three would be guaranteed handsome monetary returns for their contributions to ICC revenues. "From the pre existing measly 3.39% (USD 52.5 Million out of Gross income of USD 1.56 Billion), BCCI, Cricket Australia and ECB were recognized as the primary contributors and hence entitled to a major share of the revenue. Accordingly BCCI was to get 22.37% (USD 570.5 Million out of gross revenue of USD 2.5 Billion) from ICC which in monetary terms works out to approximately Rs. 3,822 Crores, the said amounts being receivable from the period commencing from 2015-23," Viswanathan wrote. "It is also ensured that for the subsequent period from 2023-31, the BCCI would not receive less than this share of revenue from ICC for participating in ICC events. These monies are to be ploughed back into the game and to develop infrastructure in the grass roots."
Viswanathan questioned Manohar about how he could take decisions without consulting the rest of the BCCI. "When your action could cost BCCI hundreds and thousands of crores by way of revenue," Viswanathan wrote, "was it not legally and morally obligatory on your part to take into confidence the member associations whose bottom-line is finally affected?"
Additional reporting by Arun Venugopal
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo