Discussions between the BCCI and the ICL have failed, officials from both sides confirmed, putting a question mark over the league's bid for official recognition. A terse statement from the Indian board did not offer any reason - N Srinivasan, BCCI secretary, said the two sides "failed to arrive at a common ground" - but said there were no plans for any further meetings.
ICL officials, meanwhile, described the meeting as a "farce", and said the BCCI came up with "an offer during the meeting that was simply not acceptable". "It didn't look like the BCCI was ever serious to resolve the issue," an ICL official told Cricinfo. "We will now have to look at other options, including the legal route, as the way forward."
Kapil Dev, the ICL chairman, expressed his unhappiness at the Indian board's attitude. "I understand the BCCI wants the ICL to be a closed chapter," he told AFP. "That, let me reiterate, is not possible."
ICL sources said the meeting between Subhash Chandra, chairman of the Essel Group which owns the league, Himanshu Mody, its business head, Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, and Srinivasan took place at the coffee shop of the Taj Hotel in New Delhi and lasted barely 15-20 minutes. "It was ridiculous, the way the BCCI went about this meeting."
ICL officials had told Cricinfo before the meeting that they hoped the BCCI, as part of a possible solution, would lift the ban on their players from all forms of cricket, grant them access to all cricket venues, and stop "arm-twisting" the ICL's sponsors.
Manohar met officials of the ICL for the first time since the league was set up in April 2007 after its request for recognition came up for discussion at the ICC board meeting in Dubai earlier this week. It was decided at that meeting that Manohar would provide a written report to the ICC board "in due course" after discussions with the ICL. Dave Richardson, the ICC's manager for cricket operations, told reporters on Thursday that the BCCI wanted to meet ICL officials and hadn't been asked to do so by the ICC.
Since its inception, the ICL has seen strong opposition from the BCCI, which has banned players associated with the league from all forms of official cricket and barred them from using any of its facilities. The ICL has, meanwhile, been pressing the ICC unsuccessfully for official recognition of their venture for several months. Subsequently they requested the ICC for a meeting, and Subhash Chandra, who owns the league, met David Morgan, the ICC president, in London last week to present its case.
The ICL believes that it has a strong case for recognition under Rule 32 of the ICC operating manual that deals with authorised unofficial cricket such as the Hong Kong Sixes event and the Stanford 20/20 in the West Indies. However, two senior BCCI officials - Manohar and Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman - are on a five-man ICC sub-committee that has worked on modifying the rules for official and unofficial cricket.