India in South Africa 2013-14

ICC sanctions independent probe into Becker comments

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 22, 2013

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, at a press conference, Melbourne, June 13, 2012
Haroon Lorgat's role in the David Becker statement will be independently investigated by the ICC © Getty Images
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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by the ICC, and look into the "content and distribution of the media comments, subsequent attempts to have them withdrawn, and, in particular, the role of Mr Lorgat in relation to these matters".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.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Biso on (October 24, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

@VisBal: "the FTP is more or less legally binding". If that were truly the case CSA would have dragged BCCI to court by now. And I do not quite understand the meaning of " more or less". No court will ever do. Is BCCI wrong about going for more revenue generation on their own when faced with a situation where the host board have taken them for granted and are trying to mint money by going for a token of two tests and 7 ODI's and couple of T-20's? If CSA was really bothered about tests then they would have opted for at least 3 tests and maybe 4 ODI's. All matches could have been fitted into the FTP. Having an FTP does not mean that the detailed schedule will not be arrived at through mutual negotiations. I also agree that if Lorgat had not been the irritant , perhaps, BCCI would have overlooked CSA's unilateral schedule and gone for the tour.

Posted by   on (October 24, 2013, 1:25 GMT)

To all people who think the FTP is a legally binding document - it may be, but India has not yet signed the FTP, so legally, they are not party to the FTP. It does not matter what Beckar had to say. To others who say, remove India from ICC and ICC does not need India's money - please ask the respective cricket boards who time and again request India to come play a series in their nation. Apart from that, even if India were kicked out of ICC, India does not need money from rest of the world - they have the IPL, which is more than enough to cover for their finances and beyond. Please understand, any sport needs money to survive. You can ask China/US (or any other nation with lots of cash) to come steamroll the shenanigans, but you are just going to replace BCCI by someone else. So the ICC either makes peace with the fact that India will be at the helm or try and install someone else there. That does not change anything at all!

Posted by Biso on (October 23, 2013, 6:20 GMT)

@Nutcutlet. Becker's gun has mere blanks and it is all about noise and no real ammunition. Srinivasan will be sooner or later ousted in BCCI, but that is OK and good for the game. The same holds true for all officials in any board.

Posted by Biso on (October 23, 2013, 6:13 GMT)

For all those who seem to hold the opinion that ICC should chalk out the FTP and hold member nations responsible for standing by it, come what may. What is overlooked is the fact that ICC will have to bear a lot of responsibility for the FTP and bail out the members in case of financial losses, especially in cases where the member has earlier objected to the schedule or shown concerns about the viability of the venture. Now, even if member countries make their own arrangements and schedule it through the FTP, there will be adequate safeguards for any member to bail out of the agreement for valid reasons. In fact there is very little the ICC can implement without taking the risk of bearing the liability for their decisions. International cricket is an industry and in this scenario many of the woolf..committee suggestions are actually impractical and backed by a carving for money from India without bearing any responsibility. Bilateral contracts are the only way. Period!

Posted by satishchandar on (October 23, 2013, 4:29 GMT)

Let us think this way.. Srinivasan comments very harsh and acts very bad towards ECB.. He gets appointed as chief in SL board and still behaves the same. He intentionally goes forward and announces a Sl-England tourney without ECB's approval.. All these will irk any board. Now if ECB acts for that, who will be the fault? It is the single guy - Lorgat who is the reason for everything..

FTP.. What FTP who FTP? Why the FTP has more test matches for one nation and a bilateral series named Ashes compulsory for two teams whereas, the other teams are almost forgotten while framing the FTP? It is not a rule book to follow as Triple_A mentioned.

If iCC is really cocerned, give every nation 10 tests and 40 ODIs per year and everyone should play every other team in 2 years span. That is called the real FTP.

Posted by 777aditya on (October 23, 2013, 4:00 GMT)

@ Laeeq Hashmi - very sad but very true

Posted by Masking_Tape on (October 23, 2013, 2:20 GMT)

half_blood-prince, that literally made no sense, and I'm 100% sure that has NOTHING to do with any of this.

Posted by VisBal on (October 23, 2013, 1:33 GMT)

This witch hunt over the DRS is a tad overdone.

Frankly, the BCCI in this case are (partially) replacing an away tour(minimal revenue, if any) with a home tour (high revenue). In the end, that is what it comes to. Smell and follow the money. The witch hunt itself just a smokescreen to help Tendulkar retire (a) in front of a home crowd (commercialisation opportunity), (b) on a helpful/flat pitch, and (c) against a weak opposition. The BCCi and many Indian fans would like to see him score a century in his last Test (think of the marketing options) and they are just trying to facilitate it.

Meanwhile, as I understand, the FTP is more or less legally binding. That is why the negotiations usually only extend to match composition and not duration. This is the first I have seen where an FTP tour's duration is altered. Unfortunately, the only way to convince the BCCI of their folly (reneging on commitment) is to reduce the matches played by top teams in India.

Posted by   on (October 22, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

so BCCI is running cricket south africa affairs ...India doesn't want to play more test matches outside subcontinent because they can't win in ENG,AUS & SA .India already lost 8 test matches in AUS & ENG

Posted by   on (October 22, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

Is the ICC so desparate for the cash that the BCCI has to offer that they are willing to sell their souls and be at the beck and call of India. India may be popular in their country, but they are not worth any competition outside their borders. It is a proven fact that we have always annihilated them on South African soil. Let them go it alone and show them that they are not needed.

Posted by half_blood-prince on (October 22, 2013, 16:49 GMT)

if i suggest my son not to marry a girl beacause she comes from a family with whom i have concerns is okay..im not forcing him to settle only with the girl i like. its simple and if my son ignores me then i can not have relations with him at all.

Posted by adichats on (October 22, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

I have no particular sympathy for the BCCI and certainly no external parties should have any say or influence on who should head CSA. Having said that, BCCI are well within their rights to refuse to work with someone they don't like especially if there's no legal binding. Though it's not terribly mature behavior. They also have the right to ask for an inquiry into Becker's comments. To me, CSA capitulating is far more troubling.If they think BCCI is wrong, then they should have stood their ground. In the end it's the lure of the lucre. No party comes out with shining morals here.

Posted by   on (October 22, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

This is all quite a bit much and is only going to get worse as money is going to pour into India's cricket industry in greater volumes. We have already seen blatant strong arm tactics within the BCCI and now personal rivalries are dictating cricket. Next it looks like everyone will need the BCCI's permission before doing anything !! In Jagmohan Dalmiya's time the ICC attempted to spread cricket to the globe. Now we see a business tycoon using business tactics in sport. Just isnt cricket. And poor CSA has to tag along due to the financial sword of Damocles hanging over its head. We can only hope that future BCCI leadership uses its clout to raise the profile of the game and not settle petty issues at the cost of the game.

Posted by brusselslion on (October 22, 2013, 15:43 GMT)

@Triple_A: OK, agreed maybe a 5-7 year window is too far in advance for a binding commitment to be made but, by the same token, there is no reason why something binding should not be made a year or two in advance. Otherwise why bother with such plans? Just leave it to individual boards to work out bi-lateral agreements 'on the hoof'.

Posted by Sunny_Shine on (October 22, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

*sigh* some people just cant see us Indians at "top of the ladder"....while others who I wont like to name (PRASPUNTER) are simply suffering from ''BCCI hatred syndrome"!! Cmmon people tour is underway, enquiry in going on, what else you people(HATERS) want??

Posted by   on (October 22, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

What point, or credibility would the intended Test Championship have if no fixed itinerary is at least agreed upon in advance. It would be ludicrous if a team can qualify for a top 4 position playing only two match make-belief series. There must be some guideline to ensure top teams play more. They need to work for it! And all teams MUST have at least some idea of their future tours. Any league setup (EUFA Champions / Group Stage CWC / IPL) ensures even distribution of opponents and home/away games.

Posted by   on (October 22, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

@Triple_A on (October 22, 2013, 13:33 GMT):

Excellent piece on FTP. Those who harp on its legality, please read comment referred to above.

Posted by Parker1971 on (October 22, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

The odious BCCI execs have proved once again their appalling modus operandi in dealing with all things cricket at the ICC and India. The IPL is a perfect example of BCCI behavior. Sycophantic voting members of the ICC place short-term financial gain above all else. The Indian cricket-loving populace of 1.4bn hold the entire financial feasibility of a non-global non-profit making sport in THEIR hands, yet allow the BCCI to treat them as nothing more than slave cash-cows and cheap labour. The BCCI treat small nations within the ICC as voting cannon-fodder and Indian cricket fans as "free money." I read posts of "indian fans" supporting the actions of the BCCI because the "CSA, (following the approved FTP), didn't consult the BCCI" Follow that logic? Wake up...you think your BCCI is looking after Indian cricket interests...more like THEIR interests. The SA tour schedule is a joke, this Lorgat witchhunt is a joke...and WE ALL LOSE...do you get it now my fellow Indian cricket lovers???

Posted by kingkarthik on (October 22, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

Hello witch hunt. Let burn him on the stake purely for him having offended BCCI.

Posted by Tom_Bowler on (October 22, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

Trimming the itinerary means reducing the number of poundings India will receive. There are rumours they want next the 2014 tour reduced to a half hour game of French cricket in the arrivals hall at Heathrow.

Posted by CricketIsnotlife on (October 22, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

@SC13159. So you think, the itinerary being announced without BCCI's consent in the issue here? On the other hand you are saying that BCCI used Becker's statement to keep Lorgat away. This in itself shows they were looking for a reason to keep Lorgat away. That clearly shows that Lorgat was the issue and not the itinerary. Those who are saying BCCI is right, in what way is it right? It is a school boy attitude "if this boy is allowed to play, I won't play". The worst culprits of all are the CSA with their spineless show in all of this. BCCI is setting a bad precedent here. Even when ECB and CA were ruling world cricket, never before have they decided who should head the BCCI or PCB or NZC. This is ridiculous.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (October 22, 2013, 12:15 GMT)

People trying to find fault with BCCI have to understand it was CSA who made the first mistake by announcing the tour schedule unilaterally. Becker's outburst against Srinivasan came at the wrong time. BCCI is now using Becker's statement to keep Lorgat away from ICC and BCCI affairs until the inquiry is complete. If the inquiry clears Lorgat nothing will stop him from assuming full duty.

Posted by PrasPunter on (October 22, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

CA in 2008 over the monkeygate, now CSA over the LorgatGate - hope atleast the ECB stands on its legs. Though an Ashes opponent, proud about the ECB, atleast for this. The Stanford episode however is a blot though.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (October 22, 2013, 11:37 GMT)

FTP is set by respective boards. It is not legally binding. It just acts as a guidance. ICC's only role in FTP is that it's rules says when there is a disagreement between the boards regarding FTP, minimum 2tests and 3odis should be played. If not there is some penalty to pay. FTP tours become legally binding only after both boards concerned, agreed and signed the document. It looks like, Lorgat must have shared some confidential information to Becker.

Posted by brusselslion on (October 22, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

Don't the ICC know whether their documents - detailing agreements such as the Future Tours program - are legally binding? If not, why not? It also begs the question: What's the point of such agreements if individual boards can simply shed any obligations at the drop of a hat?

Posted by JustIPL on (October 22, 2013, 11:07 GMT)

First of all the tour itinerary announced by CSA was exactly in line with ftp and BCCI also knew about it. If BCCI had interest in WI series then they should have written to CSA before hand. BCCI just decided to punish CSA on Lorgat and announced a tour outside ftp which should be considered by independent panel setup by ICC as mentioned in this article. It is highly unlikely that ICC will accept breach of ftp and now BCCI and Becker are in the same court. It is a great triumph of Lorgat that he is in not on leave as was rumored sometime back. It is really unlikely that the panel will support BCCI stance against Lorgat who was not terminated by ICC and finished his tenure successfully. Lorgat safeguarded the interests of ICC, his employer, which is right path and all boards were equal in his eyes.

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