Sri Lankan cricket

SLC look for $70-million BCCI bailout

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

October 10, 2008

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

The Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association (SLCA) and sports minister Gamini Lokuge have finalised a proposal that could bring in $70 million for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) over the next 10 years but will seriously undermine Sri Lanka's Test tour of England. The proposal, which will be presented to the BCCI, will require the full participation of SLC within the IPL and its sister tournament, the Champions League, for the next decade.

The proposed deal follows the recent decision by Lokuge that the Sri Lankan players contracted to the IPL will be released from the tour of England following the cancellation of Zimbabwe's tour to England.

SLC officials admitted it would be impossible to hold the the two-Test series in England. "The series is definitely off since it has not yet been ratified by the ECB and still remains subject to its approval. So, there is absolutely no chance they are now going to sanction the series against a virtual Sri Lanka A side," a board official said.

However, the officials offered the ECB a three-match ODI series after May 25 and were also considering an invitation to play in a Stanford 20/20 tournament prior to the World Twenty20 in June.

"We have a signed contract with SLC in which we agree to play two Tests and three ODIs" an ECB spokesman told Cricinfo. "We have had no other contact from SLC."

The SLCA had discussed the England tour issue directly with IPL chairman Lalit Modi in Mumbai two weeks ago, during which Modi unveiled his plans for Sri Lanka, conditional upon SLC pledging full support for the IPL and the Champions League, the only exception being Sri Lanka's tour to England in 2011.

The financial commitment will include an annual payment of between US$3-4 million for participating in the Champions League starting from 2009. India will also try to replay the cancelled 2006 tri-series featuring Sri Lanka and South Africa at some stage next year. An additional tri-series, worth an estimated $18 million, has been pledged for 2010 as well.

The fine-print of the deal will be discussed at a meeting in Mumbai on October 19 between the BCCI and a Sri Lankan delegation which will include an official from the sports ministry, SLC chief executive Duleep Mendis and Graeme Labrooy, the secretary of the SLCA.

The final proposal will be presented to SLC and the sports minister for ratification.

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Posted by Travellingtone on (October 14, 2008, 9:23 GMT)

Dear BangaloreKid please can you back up your statement that the "BCCI contributes 80% of the revenue to world cricket". Can I respectfully suggest you have got your Rupee's and Dollars confused?

Posted by Manoj1234 on (October 12, 2008, 16:44 GMT)

Folr those people slamming the BCCI , I'm no fan of BCCI either. But here there is an attrition between BCCI and ECB. ECB after having been running cricket (illegitimately over so long), are not able to function in the free market (unlike the ACA). Given that both BCCI and ECB are competitors and will do things to undermine each other and protect their interests, it seems to be something pretty logical for the BCCI to do. It has to protect its turf (Asia) and its tournament (IPL). SL cricketers too like to play IPL , because for the money and also the adulation of Indian cricket fans (instead of the racial epiteths they are sure to receive in England and Australia when they play there). I feel its all very fair under the circumstances and a win-win for SL and India. Manoj

Posted by rohit.roii on (October 12, 2008, 12:54 GMT)

This move is certainly going to play spoilsport for the harmony in world cricket. Those experts who had presumed that IPL will kill the sporting spirit and enflame the commercialisation of cricket has come true with this decision. This is starting of a sad chapter in cricket history.

Posted by TwitterJitter on (October 12, 2008, 11:58 GMT)

This is bound to happen and ECB should accept the fact that they do not control ICC any more. IPL and ICL have barely touched their potential in India. Even then, BCCI contributes 80% of the revenue to world cricket. It is just not practical to assume that a nation can contribute so much portion of ICC revenues and still be seated as one of 8 equals in ICC. Look at U.N. and permanent members of security council. Those with most money have the most influence and dictate terms. With IPL and ICL, India will account more than 90% of cricket revenues. You are seeing BCCI (with IPL) and ICL turn attention inwards and focus more on domestic cricket because there is still a lot of untapped revenue internally. It is like a NFL, NBA, or MLB in USA. The only way for other nations is what Aussies and SA are doing. Plan on developing their domestic leagues and tie up with India. ECB and English press are unable to digest the fact and are just whining.

Posted by PottedLambShanks on (October 12, 2008, 7:35 GMT)

I've not read anything to change my initial view. If the Sri Lankans want to go and take the Indian silver, then they should, I am not saying that they should not, merely that they should never expect to play another test match in England. Despite the all-too-predictable whinging from the Sri Lankan fans about the "oppressive" ECB, I think you'll find that a tour of England and home series against them are 2 of the highlights of a Sri Lankan cricketer's career.

In addition, the next time a smaller Asian nation produces a spinner with a dubious action, the ECB should not turn a blind eye in the way it has done in the past - what's the point of giving such a team every help to become a competitive test nation when all they want to do is whatever the BCCI tells them!

Posted by richardk on (October 11, 2008, 10:24 GMT)

It's a very difficult situation. The premier league Twenty20 cricket is here to stay - at least while it remains popular and there's money in it for broadcasters - in one way it's about time cricketers earned some decent money when you've got Premier League footballers taking home offensively large wages week after week.

But because over recent years the rolling tours programme coupled with matching one-day series' have flooded the schedules, IPL and ICL was always going to push those schedules over the edge, and now we beging the tussle for the pure forms of the game to remain at the forefront, battling with large sums of cash for the more entertaining and potentially public-friendly cricket-lite.

I just hope it doesn't get too messy and farcical, the IPL and Indian board hold a lot of control over the game currently, but they must not be able to use the lure of money to ride rough-shod over the test tour programme.

Posted by banglafan on (October 11, 2008, 8:55 GMT)

I am glad to see commenters here have seen the real problem. IPL could however be put to good use - it could solve the scheduling problems created by too much cricket nowadays and let cricket be played in the right seasons. Imagine playing test cricket in May -June in the subcontinent !!

So lets go back to test cricket in sub-continent during October - March, in england in June - August, in Australia from November - March and so on.

There should be a fixed slot for IPL and ICL during the year which will remain as a permanent fixture and should not clash with test cricket.

And remember, ICC must remain in charge of world cricket.

Lets not spoil cricket by pandering to external forces and playing mindlessly in excessive heat and in the monsoons !!

Posted by popcorn on (October 11, 2008, 7:30 GMT)

The monster of IPL has raised its ugly head again. Lalit Modi is using his arrogance of money power to pay Sri Lanka $ 40 million to forfeit their commitment to play the Test Cricket series planned by ICC between Sri Lanka and England.

This is disgusting. This is a precedent for other Boards to stop playing Test Cricket. ICC is impotent to put its foot down and nip such actions in the bud.

It is also sad that none of the former cricketing greats (except Arjuna Ranatunga) are speaking out against the harm that IPL is causing to the Game of Cricket.

Posted by SHANTIRATNAM on (October 11, 2008, 4:52 GMT)

If the local boys can make millions in the hot sun in India, I am sure they can play cricket in the winter. Arjuna is our world cup winning captain, he knows what is good for cricket. The same boys are now playing in the cold Canada..its colder than UK. Its all money that is taking the front seat not the passion of representing the country internationally.

Posted by DilmahTea on (October 11, 2008, 3:29 GMT)

I agree with crpcarrot, you cant blame the players as they had signed contracts with IPL with the consent of Sri Lanka Cricket. At the time of signing the contracts there wasn't any matches scheduled.

Now that the ECB has offered this tour to us as they do not have anyone else to tour UK. and more those living in UK very well know it is very difficult to play for our guys during this time of the year. The wickets are green and cold and it has been a habit of ECB to invite us for the early summer season and not during the latter part of the season. If one observes the after 1998 September, when Sri Lanka beat England by 10 wkts at The Oval, we have been never invited to play in the late summer. I don't see firstly why SLC should accept the ECB offer.

Posted by laggan on (October 10, 2008, 22:59 GMT)

Arjuna Ranathunga agreed to play cricket in England in the spring knowing that the players had commitments in India. He is at fault for agreeing without proper consultation. However SL cricket fans prefer them to play in India as they know that England offer Sri Lanka, matches in late winter/spring and not in the summer. Further playing in India enable the players to earn good money from their trade. May be Sri Lanka 'A team' will give a good game to the English team.

Posted by dancingjetcat on (October 10, 2008, 16:46 GMT)

the problem is that the international schedule is a complete mess. it was overcrowded & messy long before the ICL & IPL came into being. i could spend hours pointing out anomalies in it. it needs a complete overhaul. there is no chance of the FTP surviving till 2012. TPTB are going to have to make some serious descisions about the direction & shape of international cricket sooner, rather than later. if they don't the money men will shape it for them. if England need early season opposion before next seasons Ashes maybe they should consider playing one of the Associate nations.

Posted by sanath007 on (October 10, 2008, 16:25 GMT)

Arjuna arranged the England tour knowing players had IPL obligation,that was terrible from Arjuna.he is ruining cricket in SL.Anyway if we go England early summer we'll get beaten,they never invite us to play late in summer.i don't mind this cancellation because of those reasons,but stil the 5 one day matches can be played

Posted by cricfans2cents on (October 10, 2008, 16:03 GMT)

Think people think. Look at the events in the past few weeks. No body is caring for the game. Out of all this SLC is the winner and interestingly no losers. ECB still has the option of hosting SLC or inviting another team and keep the broadcasters happy. IPL will get all of its contracted players from SL and got an assurance from SLC for Champions league for next 10 yrs. And for SLC, they got $70m and its players their contract fees.

Posted by dudewithaptitude on (October 10, 2008, 15:15 GMT)

I think BCCI is doing a great damage to cricket, making countries to cancel their tours for damn IPL, I understand that money is important but why isnt it scheduling during open window or something. Thats Pathetic from BCCI. Lately India has done a great deal of damage to world cricket just to fill their pockets. what a shame BCCI ! Trying to destroy the actual wonderful game of cricket for money ! great ! and please dont tell me that SLC has the right to make money . they do offcourse but not putting actual cricket behind and putting damn IPL first !

Posted by banglafan on (October 10, 2008, 13:10 GMT)

IPL & ICL are OK

The thing I dont like, and I am am sure millions others are with me in this too, is BCCI playing God (or Bhagvan) over all things cricket in the world now.

Cricket people of the world, don't forget that BCCI is just a body of a cricketing nation, maybe they have lots of money to throw around, but hey, look at what happens to a lot of money and no fundamentals = invincible Wall Street crumbling now like nobody's business, and taking down other markets too !!

So Sri Lanks and other boards of cricketing countries, dont lick BCCI's shoes for a share of the IPL pie. It is not very far off that IPL will become just another tournament after a few years of hoopla and ultimately sponsorship fatigue will set in.

Many times the demise of Test cricket was predicted, especially after ODI and 20-20, but has it died ? No ? Was the first two days of the present Ind Aus test any less interetting than a 0di or 20-20 ? Test cricket is the real thing, lets not forget for one second.

Posted by pragmatist on (October 10, 2008, 12:16 GMT)

I can see the BCCI picking off their allied boards one by one in order to effectively "own" the April/May timeslot, where there will be no international cricket. And then this won't be enough for them. They will be after a second IPL tournament which could feature in the September/October slot. Both of these IPL slots will render international cricket impossible at these times, with Test cricket the most vulnerable form of the game. Come on ICC, sort it out. Some chance!!!

Posted by crpcarrot on (October 10, 2008, 11:27 GMT)

some of the posters are being very ignorant

fact of the matter is there was no England Tour scheduled till the Zimbabwe tour was cancelled due to political reasons mainly.

the players were already contracted to play in the IPL during a window in the international schedule unitl the board president of SL unilaterlally decided to schedule a tour.

although i would love to see Sri Lanka playing here it would be grossly unfair to deprive the players of their contracts with IPL unless the ECB/SLC/ICC can compensate them for their loss. would any of u blamng the players give up $500,000?

Its not the SL players fault that the Zimbabwe series was cancelled and they shouldnt have to pay for it. The President of SLC should consider the players welfare as well before making decisions.

Posted by Jose on (October 10, 2008, 11:23 GMT)

BCCI never upgraded infrastructure and facilities in cricket stadiums, but they spend money (earned from cricket fans) generously without any responsibility and accountability. All BCCI & IPL officials earning millions & getting richer. Only God knows how many filthy scams involved in these organisations. High time for Indians to teach a strong lesson for these thugs.

Posted by ShortMemory on (October 10, 2008, 11:23 GMT)

To PottedLambShanks,

I find your commment amusing. I don't know whether it is anything to do with a superior/inferior mindset. Eventhough i find it heartbreaking that IPL is eating away test matches, i would like to point out that it took england almost 22 years to invite srilanka for a test series in england. Should we also blame BCCI for the loss of test cricket from 1981 to 2002 ? Just put things in perspective and don't talk as if ECB is anyway morally superior !

Posted by TwitterJitter on (October 10, 2008, 11:19 GMT)

Funny people commenting here. Playing in Stanford 20/20 is okay. Playing in ICL is okay. However, playing for IPL is a big no no! Till now the justification was that the boards were not getting any pie from IPL. Now that they are getting a bigger pie... Well, I won't even bother asking you to justify your logic.

Posted by rrkulkar on (October 10, 2008, 11:05 GMT)

Look guys, here is my take on this issue. I think Cricket is going the Football way with many regional clubs playing their league with international stars along with their own players. Earlier, the amount of money that the players extracted were from the final XI playing for each of their countries. Other cricketers from various countries even if they were as good as the international cricketers were relegated to club cricket where there was hardly any money (Australians and Englishmen may argue but, the truth is that there is no money in county cricket in rest of the countries). However, IPL changed that. Now, new cricket stars are on the rise. Shaun Marsh, Y. Pathan, Abhishek Nayyar, M. Gony have all shown their talent and with the rise of such players, the money will not be restricted just to the international cricket players. Cricket will be more like Football. League cricket with international stars with Champions league in the mix. International tours will be there albeit less.

Posted by maj1c on (October 10, 2008, 10:49 GMT)

Frankly, England deserve it!. It's hardly like they have been great supporters of SL cricket over the years. They normally get given an early season 2 test series before the 'real' test series gets underway. Plus this series is NOT on the futures tour- it was a replacement for the cancelled Zimbabwe tour. England have to face realities- the early test series does not hold the interest of teams/players as the IPL does, so make sure it doesn't clash with the IPL.

Posted by mrpopodopolous on (October 10, 2008, 10:26 GMT)

The thing is, this is a major deal for SL.

Their players sure as hell don't make anything like that of England and their Central contracts were not worth as much, and I don't mean Murali and others.

Finally, 2 Tests at the start of the summer is a bit of an insult to a side like SL, I think.

PS, the IPL was arranged first, they have contracts etc.

Posted by mahsang on (October 10, 2008, 10:20 GMT)

You can't blame the Sri Lankans in this matter. First of all, this tour was not originally planned. We must also consider the fact that the SL cricketers aren't payed as well as the other nations, so you really can't blame the players for going for the money. The other problem is that Sri Lankan board is also hard pressed for cash. So they need to take every opportunity to earn (like the one stated above). I do agree that the IPL should be given a window. I also think that the future test program is not really fair to Sri Lanka. The number of tests played by the Sri lankans is very limited compared to the rest and the ones they get are during periods that the others aren't really interested in. For example between the test series against india last month and the one between SL and NZ mid next year, they have just one test series against Bangaladesh. So the blame solely falls apon the ICC.

Posted by bigbang07 on (October 10, 2008, 9:51 GMT)

There appears to be a clear lack of communication here. On one hand the English say that the Sri Lankans have signed a contract to play a few tests, the other side involves the IPL.

The problem is that with the IPL cricket is heading towards turmoil. The concept of 20/20 cricket is used to make big bucks at the expense of the ODI's and Test Matches. There needs to be a regulatory body to make sure that:

1)We have a limit on the number of 20/20 matches per year 2)The IPL does not intervene international commitments of players.

Let us hope that people at the top of Crickets' governing bodies look for the long term interest of the game instead of trying to make the most of the 20/20 fad by making a quick buck.

Posted by LalithW on (October 10, 2008, 9:44 GMT)

Its money, money and money..nothing else. There is too much emphasis on T20 and I think it is bad for Cricket. Cricket will be the loser. However, there is a reason for Sri Lanka to stick to their decisions. A contract is a contract whatever it is. On the otherhand, Australia, England and West Indies have never treated Sri Lanka equally. England always play against Sri Lanka early summer when the conditions are wet and damp. Australia have never given Sri Lanka more than two tests at a time, and that is also once in four or five years during their off season, at 2nd class venues.

Posted by cricketpakaya on (October 10, 2008, 9:10 GMT)

First of all Sri lanka does not owe anthing to England. All they were requested was to fill in for the Zimbabwe team unable to play due to political issues.The ICC stuffed up the itenary even though they knew in advance this was unrealistic.Secondly Sri Lankan cricket board is suddenly gaining a huge windfall from IPL. The SLCB has been mismanaged by Duleep Mendis and crowd and the IPL is able to balance the books which the SL board has been unable to do. Arjuna was appointed to make decisions but is unable to do so due to his senior aiya (brother) Duleep's inefficiencies in the last 5 years. All monies earned through Tv rights are lost. There are over 250 staff who walk around the SLCB who benefit from these monies. Match fees for the cricketer's should be reduced against their IPL earnings. Players over 35 should be set up for retirement now so that they dont erode future earnings of the SLCB. the minister should butt out of cricket and let the administration manage the game.

Posted by Vinshada on (October 10, 2008, 8:34 GMT)

Definitely some mixed messages coming out of SLC w.r.t BCCI. Recently the SLC lifted the ban on the ICL players, and annoyed the BCCI, now they are in bed with them announcing a 10-year deal?

If you ask me $70M for 10 years is pretty cheap. How can anyone commit to such a long-term financial deal. There appears to be a clash between Ranatunga the head of SLC and the sports minister Gamini Lokuge, which isn't helping the situation.

Posted by timedout on (October 10, 2008, 8:31 GMT)

Quite agree with the comments here - this is very sad. I hope the ECB breaks the habit of a lifetime and acts decisively and clearly: Sri Lanka's offer of ODIs must be rejected and another team invited.

I can only hope that the BCCI's hubris is, as in classical tragedy, followed up by nemesis and catharsis. Christopher Martin-Jenkins wrote rightly that the essential fascination of cricket will mean that the game will survive, but I think it will have to be reinvented.

The hysteria surrounding Twenty20 will die down, simply because it is a product and not a sport. But what will be left then? If nothing is done, not much. But if Test cricket were reformed to make it an even sharper contest... how about this? Cut Test matches from 5 days to 4 (like county cricket) and leave pitches uncovered. There is SO much more to cricket than the sixes-and-wickets idiocy of Twenty20, it's time for the REAL game to fight back.

Posted by AmanHareesSL on (October 10, 2008, 8:26 GMT)

PottedLambShanks, do you know the salary of those players? Well, do you? Sri lanka is reputed to be the poorest paid cricketing countries barring bangladesh and zimbabwe. For such a talented bunch, they don't deserve it. They have a life changing opportunity with the IPL so please don't try to change that. When england only gave sri lanka one test in 1998 what happened. It was a pelting: Aravinda de Silva got 152, Sanath Jayasuriya got 213, Murali 16/220 and an innings victory. The people at fault are the ICC due to their failure to create an IPL window and now look. Also the unnecessary banning of the ICL has created further chaos. I believe the ICC is a joke to other sporting organisations. They should get their act right and you sir, should think before you speak.

Posted by SHANTIRATNAM on (October 10, 2008, 8:09 GMT)

The decision to drop the England series and bow down to the tune of BCCI, is an insult to all of us as Sri Lankan,s. We all now carry the tag of beggers or money-freaks. We have just sold our pride as an "Independent Nation". Organize a SPL and invite Indian players to play giving up an series against Australia or Pakistan, then you will realize the response you get from BCCI and more over the Indian players who are so loyal to their country. Sri Lankan cricket fans...its your chance to show you'll are loyal Sri Lankans, if the full Sri Lankan team does not play the England Test series all of you must boycott all future Sri Lankan matches, let the Million Dollar babies play on their own.

Posted by Pravski on (October 10, 2008, 7:40 GMT)

Look, put yourself in the position of the players. You've signed a contract to earn $500,000 in a competition. Then all of a sudden, Zimbabwe tour is cancelled and you are asked to ignore that $500,000.

You can see why the players want to play in the IPL - this is the ICC's fault for not organising a window for the IPL. They had the chance to do what other sporting bodies like FIFA dream of - ensure that club and national committments do not clash, and yet they neglected to.

Now surely we will have a window for the 2010 IPL.

Posted by since7 on (October 10, 2008, 6:48 GMT)

I am getting depresses day by day.......I hope everyone remembers what the BCCI and modi said last year when they were asked about the IPL disrupting international cricket....They said that IPL will never intervene with the future tour programme and playing for their respective countries will be the first priority.....This doent augur well for cricket..The game has virtuslly become a playdoll for administrators...

Posted by urdho on (October 10, 2008, 6:45 GMT)

its just all money talking. nothing for cricket. simple business.

Posted by longridge on (October 10, 2008, 6:42 GMT)

There is going to end up being two seperate factions in cricket. There will be India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan in one corner playing constant "franchise" 20/20 matches with the odd 20/20 international thrown in making shed loads of cash. In the other corner England, South Africa, Australia and the West Indies will carry on along similar lines to today with 4 or 5 match test series and a few 20/20 games. The OZ/SA/Eng games will be tough but will get a bit monotonous and the West Indies will be whipping boys. The only end result will be traditional skills will be lost in Asia and the game will be generally worse than it used to be.

Posted by PottedLambShanks on (October 10, 2008, 6:06 GMT)

If the Sri Lankans send anything other than a full-strength test side to England, the ECB should withdraw its recognition of them for the next 10 years. If they don't come now, they should not be asked back.

Posted by gauravk on (October 10, 2008, 6:05 GMT)

IPL has started eating international cricket. The bad effects have started appearing.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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