Greg Barclay re-elected as ICC chairman without contest
Jay Shah to head influential Finance and Commercial Affairs committee
Nagraj Gollapudi and Tristan Lavalette
Greg Barclay has been re-elected as ICC chairman for another two-year term after his rival, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani, pulled out of the contest late on Friday. Barclay, who served his first stint as ICC chair between 2022 and this November, will now be in the position until 2024.
The election assumed intrigue over the last couple of weeks after Mukuhlani decided to enter the fray despite knowing Barclay had potentially more votes in his favour from the 16-strong ballot. The election rules stated that winner would be determined by a simple majority. Mukuhlani, a long-term director on the ICC board, had at least six backers including some of the smaller countries from the Asian bloc. However, it was the BCCI, as always, which carried a lot of influence over the voting process.
Despite stating informally that the board was leaning towards supporting Barclay, the BCCI kept everyone guessing which way they would eventually vote in case of an election. Whilst no one at the ICC has officially spoken, more than one director pointed out to ESPNcricinfo that the BCCI wanted to have a prime seat on the influential Finance & Commercial Affairs committee, which not only decides budget allocations for ICC events, but also looks after the distribution of money to member countries from the overall revenue pool.
Accordingly, the BCCI camp led by Jay Shah and Arun Dhumal (IPL chairman) landed in Australia more than a week before the ICC Board meetings happening this weekend in Melbourne. Shah replaced former India captain Sourav Ganguly as the BCCI representative (BCCI president between 2019 till October) on the ICC Board while Dhumal will be sitting on the chief executives committee. More importantly, Shah will also be part of the F&CA and is poised to take over as chair of the committee at its next meeting in March 2023 from Ross McCollum, former Cricket Ireland chair, who is due to retire soon.
Ever since the Shashank Manohar-lead ICC dismantled the Big Three power structure in 2017, and put in place a new financial model that enhanced the earnings of smaller Full Member countries, the BCCI has publicly said it would strive to get a bigger share of the ICC revenue pool which recently got much bigger this August after Disney Star* bought the broadcast rights for men's and women's events between 2024-27. The deal, to broadcast in the India market only, is reportedly worth over US$3 billion, considerably more than what the ICC got in the previous rights cycle (which was for eight years, and globally). That pot will get more bigger once the ICC sells the broadcast rights in the remaining key markets including the USA, Australia and Europe.
Both Barclay and Mukuhlani's manifestos comprised having a re-look at the financial distribution model as well as advocating changes to the ICC governance structure. While Mukuhlani has pulled out of the ICC chair contest, his camp believes they have secured enough assurances that smaller countries will receive a more significant share from the ICC revenues as well as occupying key positions in the ICC committees. Accordingly, Imran Khawaja, the ICC deputy chair, will retain that post and continue to lead the ICC Development Committee. Khwaja had lost to Barclay in 202 ICC chair elections and had thought of running again before deciding to back Mukuhlani.
Mukuhlani himself is part of the ICC's Audit Committee and chair of the Membership Committee. He is also part of the global body's Olympics working group, which is tasked with pushing for cricket's entry in the Summer Games. Mukuhlani said in an ICC media release on Saturday that he decided to "withdraw" because he believed Barclay continuing as ICC chair was "in the best interest of the sport."
On his part, Barclay said his aim would now be to "strengthen" cricket and help it grow beyond the "core markets."
"Over the last two years we have made significant strides forward with the launch of our global growth strategy that provides clear direction to build a successful and sustainable future for our sport," Barclay said.
*Disney Star and ESPNcricinfo are part of the Walt Disney Company