Tim May's removal from the ICC cricket committee following allegations of pressure exerted by the BCCI to install their preferred candidate Laxman Sivaramakrishnan should be the subject of an ICC ethics committee enquiry, according to the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) of which May is the chief executive.
Ian Smith, FICA's legal advisor, has also said that the players' body is aware the ICC warned member nations not to interfere with the voting process but then did nothing when those warnings were ignored, accusing Boards of applying "direct pressure on their captains to amend their votes." He said there had been been a "very clear distinction" between routine "lobbying" before an election and "threatening an employee to change their vote."
"In light of media reports that five ICC full member boards applied direct pressure on their captains to amend their votes in the recent elections, FICA's official stance is that these allegations must warrant careful and independent scrutiny," Smith said. "Especially because we understand ICC specifically instructed the Boards not to interfere in the voting process.
"The actions, allegedly instigated by BCCI, are a timely and stark reminder of the very serious shortcomings in governance at ICC highlighted more than a year ago by the Woolf Report and about which ICC has done nothing in the intervening period.
"It is further apparent from statements made by unnamed ICC Board sources overnight that they are trying to position the involved Boards' actions as 'lobbying', but there should be a very clear distinction made between a candidate lobbying for a vote and an employer threatening an employee to change their vote."
May, a staunch advocate of players' rights for more than a decade, lost his place as one of two current players' representatives on the cricket committee following a captains' vote to Sivaramakrishnan, who is employed by the BCCI as a television commentator.
Jimmy Adams, the former West Indies captain and FICA president, said the process by which May was ousted has raised major questions of the ICC's ethics. He also questioned how the game's governing body had the right to stand in judgement over the actions of the players when its own moral compass is so often found to be lacking.
"How can the players of the world look to ICC for leadership in these circumstances and how does the spirit of cricket apply to the organisation itself?" Adams said. "Board members didn't like how their captains intended to vote, so they apparently ordered them to change that vote. This type of behaviour from the game's ruling body makes a mockery of their motives behind the procurement of the Woolf report.
"FICA want ICC to use its own processes to deal with this. It has a Code of Ethics with which Directors and Members need to comply - the reported actions of some of the Member Boards and ICC directors, at the very least warrant investigation under this Code. We call on ICC to hold itself up to the high standards of moral conduct it constantly tells the players and officials it expects from them.
"Ultimately, these actions are symptoms of poor governance at the top level and a blatant disregard for what most would regard as the necessary ethical standards required to run a prominent international sport - cricket deserves a lot better."
Comment has been sought from the ICC and the BCCI.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here