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The ICC's Board meeting on January 9, where full member boards were presented with a "working group position paper" was unscheduled, called in without any agenda other than a hint that "financial matters" would be discussed. What the members were presented with instead, was a radical overhaul of the administration and finances of the world body, being told that the plan had been six months in the making. Giles Clarke of the ECB opened the discussion and the "position paper" was presented by BCCI president N Srinivasan.
The head of one of the boards outside the Big Three (Australia, England, India) said the draft paper "came out of nowhere. Nothing had been hinted at." The role of the England and Australian boards have surprised a few, with one official saying, "I don't think the plan would have worked if either of other two had not acceded. It is devastating."
Apart from New Zealand Cricket's director Martin Snedden and Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan, there has been little official comment on the draft paper from all the member boards, particularly those outside the Big Three. Hassan told reporters in Dhaka on Monday that Bangladesh could not raise a voice of protest.
"We can't do anything on our own. I can protest but if the other nine countries are on one side, there's not much I can do," Hassan said. "I have to find countries who are in our position, read through the proposals and then think what to do."
Other than the BCB and CSA, the countries who disagree with the proposals do not wish to be identified. However, the WICB and one other board have called special meetings since news of the papers was released last week. The member boards are in discussion with each other about the documents.
Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricketers' Association defined the document as, "concerning," saying it will have "significant implication for cricket, particularly for smaller countries of which South Africa is one - revenue wise." South Africa's alienation by the Big Three - either from being involved in the formulation of the plan or as a beneficiary in their Test match fund to support smaller nations - is deliberate. South Africa are ranked No.1 on the ICC's Test rankings but find themselves ranked below Pakistan at the highest level of revenue share projections. It is understood that there had been "overtures" on behalf of the Big Three and the South Africans, and presenting them with the choice of finding themselves in the "top four or the bottom six." Cricket South Africa's (CSA) response in the situation, should the matter go to vote in the Board meeting on January 28-29, may well hold the answer to that particular question put to them.
When the details of the document were presented at the meeting, there were very few questions raised and the Australia-England-India triad are confident enough to generate the numbers they need, seven votes out of ten on the Boards. The backroom work has been done in the form of the quid pro quo terms - hosting ICC events, lucrative bilateral deals in the newly-generated FTP, even surrogate hosting of IPL matches due to the fact that this year's season will coincide with the Indian general elections.