Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
The BCCI has revealed its hand ahead of crucial negotiations on cricket's new financial model. The Indian board, unhappy with its projected share of $290 million in the model under consideration, has told ICC Full Members that it wants $570 million - the same revenue it would have received from the ICC under the original Big Three model.
Whether the BCCI gets that much remains to be seen. In earlier negotiations between ICC chairman Shashank Manohar and the BCCI's Committee of Administrators (CoA), Manohar had offered to pay an additional $100 million to the BCCI, taking the board's share to nearly $400 million.
Until the ICC meetings began this week in Dubai, that figure was thought to have been close to final. But Amitabh Choudhury, the BCCI secretary and an N Srinivasan-loyalist, has not always seen eye to eye with the CoA. And it is Choudhury, who is representing the board in Dubai.
The BCCI's approval of the financial model is crucial to a host of governance changes being agreed upon, as the ICC strives to put a new constitution in place. But ESPNcricinfo understands the BCCI has also told the ICC Full Members that it wants to defer those governance changes until after June.
Manohar, the key force behind the new constitution, has been in discussions with the BCCI's CoA since February to get the new constitution approved not only in principle, but in reality. A major hurdle is the BCCI's unhappiness with its new share of revenues, down by between $180-$190 million to $285-$290 million if the ICC generates $2.7 billion in revenue in the 2015-2023 rights cycle.
It is understood that Manohar made an offer to increase the BCCI's share to approximately $400 million to the CoA, which has been supervising the BCCI since January 30. On April 23 Manohar passed the details of the deal to Choudhury.
Choudhury and BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, however, have had conversations with the other nine Full Members and said the BCCI wants its share to be $570 million, but that the rest of the Full Members' shares will not be reduced.
In the BCCI's counter-offer, given that other shares remain the same while the Indian board gets roughly $280 million more, the extra money will come from removing the shares allotted to the two Associates - Ireland and Afghanistan. In Manohar's model, they were allotted $60 million each over eight years, pending approval of their Full Member status which is up for discussion at the ICC Board meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. The BCCI has proposed that Ireland and Afghanistan be inducted as Full Members from 2019. That leaves another $160 million to be found, which the BCCI believes can be available if the ICC's administrative costs are cut down by $100 million.
The issue of the ICC's administrative costs has been a prickly one. In the financial model devised by Manohar's working group, the ICC's administrative costs were increased to $160 million and stayed flexible. The BCCI argued these costs - and the increase - were "arbitrary".
Prospects for approval of the other governance changes now appear gloomy as well. The BCCI wants the discussion on governance be deferred to the ICC annual conference in June, and suggested a new working group be formed in the interim on which BCCI has a seat. This new working group, to be formed in June, would devise fresh resolutions on governance. The BCCI's proposal is at odds with the ICC's plan, which wants the constitution to be signed off formally in these April meetings before it is approved at the AGM in June.
Though Manohar and the ICC are aware of the BCCI's counter offer, the BCCI's back-room negotiations would have surprised him. During meetings with both the CoA and Choudhury, Manohar said the settlement deal was solely to get the constitution approved this week without needing a vote.
Manohar had met the CoA the day before he resigned as ICC chairman. While his resignation distracted everyone, he had been close to working out a deal with them on the financial model. The deal was jeopardised by his resignation, but as soon as he was persuaded to return, Manohar re-started negotiations and finalised the deal recently.
According to an official privy to those meetings, the eventual sum the BCCI would get was in the $390-400 million range. "There is an approximate number which is a $100 million more than what the ICC has proposed," the official told ESPNcricinfo. "(In February) the ICC offered $289 million. Now he is willing it take up by a 100 more. Then you are home. You are within a striking distance of a deal."
Now it is down to how Choudhury plays his cards at the ICC Board meeting over the next two days. The CoA has shown it is keen on finding a middle ground, but Choudhury and a section of BCCI insist on sticking to the Big-Three model.
The CoA met Choudhury before he travelled to Dubai and told him about its discussions with various boards in the past two months, including Cricket Australia, Cricket South Africa, Bangladesh Cricket Board, Sri Lanka Cricket, Zimbabwe Cricket, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and Imran Khawaja, the Associate representative who sits on the ICC Board and is also part of Manohar's working group.
Choudhury is understood to have been receptive, but did not commit to anything. "The deal can be done," the official said. "The danger if you are jingoistic is you will not get what you are getting."