India in South Africa 2013-14 October 22, 2013

ICC sanctions independent probe into Becker comments

ESPNcricinfo staff

The ICC will conduct an "independent, third party" investigation into the statement issued by David Becker, the ICC's former legal head, which said the BCCI's flouting of the Future Tour's Programme could have legal implications, and also into Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat's role in that statement. The ICC decision, first reported by ESPNcricinfo on Monday, was confirmed in a joint statement issued by CSA and the BCCI on Tuesday.

Becker, who apart from his ICC role was also formerly a legal advisor to CSA, had said in a statement earlier this month that the FTP was legally binding on ICC members as it had been unanimously approved, and that it was "improper" to allow a member body to "blatantly disregard an ICC resolution".

The release from the South Africa and Indian boards said the investigation panel would be appointed by the ICC, and look into the "content and distribution of the media comments, subsequent attempts to have them withdrawn, and, in particular, the role of Mr Lorgat in relation to these matters". The findings of the investigation, and the panel's recommendations, "will be binding upon CSA".

Lorgat will not deal with CSA matters relating to the ICC or the BCCI while the investigation is on. CSA is yet to appoint a person to oversee concerned matters in the interim. Chris Nenzani, chairman of the CSA Board of Directors, confirmed that Lorgat was still CSA's chief executive.

"I would like to stress that Mr. Lorgat has not been suspended," Nenzani said. "In fact, he himself volunteered to withdraw from matters involving the ICC and the BCCI in his deliberations with the full Board at their meeting last Sunday."

The boards' release also stated that the ICC is "considering its legal options" with regards to the Becker comments.

The news of the independent investigation comes alongside the boards' announcement that India's tour of South Africa will go ahead, albeit in a severely truncated form. The decision follows discussions in London, during which "various concerns were raised about the alleged conduct" of Lorgat and Becker. Both the ICC and CSA refute the latter's comments, the statement said.

Although there was no official statement, CSA's appointment of Lorgat as its chief executive despite a series of run-ins between Lorgat and the BCCI during his tenure as ICC chief seemed to have cast a shadow over India's tour. The BCCI, which had earlier "raised concerns" about Lorgat being in the running for CSA's top job, rejected the original itinerary for the tour that had three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20s pencilled in. However, the eventual announcement of the tour ends what has been an uncertain few months that severely tested the relations between the BCCI and CSA, which had been on best terms since the end of apartheid in the early 1990s.