International cricket could come to a standstill on Sunday ...
A standstill? Why?
Because of what might happen at the BCCI's Special General Body meeting (SGM) …
Another SGM? Why is this one so special?
Okay, here's the lowdown.
According to one segment of the BCCI, the Indian board has lost its influence over international cricket. Once the heavyweight at the ICC, the BCCI was outvoted on crucial resolutions in a coup of sorts at the last two ICC meetings in February and April. The ICC approved a new constitution, a new governance structure, and a new finance model. The BCCI was left fuming.
Why is the BCCI unhappy?
Money, largely. Remember the Big Three's finance model? The one devised by former BCCI president N Srinivasan, former CA chairman Wally Edwards and ECB president Giles Clarke, which gave the BCCI $570 million out of projected ICC revenues of $2.5 billion, a share way larger than any other country was getting?
Well, the BCCI still wants $570 million, but in the new finance model that was approved in April, it gets only $276 million out of projected ICC revenues of $2.7 billion. The Indian board said no to that.
The ICC Board then hiked the BCCI's slice of the pie to $293 million, and the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar placed another $100 million on the table during negotiations. So now the BCCI could have got close to $400 million, but it rejected that offer too, saying the amount was "unfair" and not proportionate to what India contributed to global cricketing revenue.
A section of the BCCI has been pushing acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, who was at the meeting when the Indian board was outvoted, to send a notice to the ICC asking why the BCCI should not revoke the MPA.
Members Participation Agreement. It's an agreement between the ICC and a member country that governs participation in ICC events. Under the MPA, either party - in this case ICC or BCCI - can ask for remedy if it feels there's a "material" breach in the contract. Reducing its revenue share and removing it from influential ICC committees constitutes a breach, in the BCCI's view.
So, where is this headed?
Apart from revoking the MPA, the BCCI also wants to pull the Indian team out of the Champions Trophy, which starts on June 1 in England. This is one of the issues that will be discussed at the SGM, and possibly voted on.
You can't be serious …
Depends on who in the BCCI you talk to. The section led by Choudhary, which also includes Srinivasan …
Wait, Srinivasan? Wasn't he declared ineligible to continue as an office-bearer by the Supreme Court? How is he still an influence?
Yes, but let's not go down that road at the moment.
So, this section of the BCCI wants to send the notice to the ICC and maybe even pull out of the Champions Trophy. But there are many other state associations at the SGM who are not in favour of such a move.
What if the majority decides the BCCI should pull out?
It's possible, but the guardians of the BCCI can overrule such a decision.
Guardians? Like the movie?
To cut a long story short, on January 30 the Supreme Court of India appointed a four-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to supervise and control the BCCI until the Lodha Committee recommendations were implemented by both the Indian board and its state associations.
So what does this CoA think about all this?
The CoA has made clear over the past week that if the BCCI takes a decision, which the CoA feels is harmful to the interests of Indian cricket, it will seek intervention from the Supreme Court. It even told the BCCI to announce the Indian squad for the Champions Trophy as soon as possible so that players are not affected by board politics. The BCCI was the only board to miss the ICC's deadline of April 25, by when all other seven participating countries had named their squads.
Is it possible that the BCCI has in fact been treated unfairly?
Perhaps. The CoA also agrees with some of the BCCI's objections to the ICC's new constitution. But it goes not agree with the BCCI's confrontational approach to the problem. While the BCCI believes it merits more money and power at the ICC because of India's position as the biggest market in cricket, the CoA told Choudhary: "We believe that the BCCI has not yet given the possibility of a negotiated outcome a fair chance."
So when will I know what happens next?
Let us talk over lunch on Sunday.