ICC u-turn over allocation of global events as bidding process removed
All tournaments over the next cycle starting in 2023 will be selected by the board
Hosts for ICC events will not be determined through an open bidding process, and instead will be selected by its board. In what amounts effectively to a u-turn, the ICC said after a board meeting on Tuesday that a process for selecting hosts for all of its events in the next rights cycle from 2023-2031 had been approved and would begin this month.
How that process will work was not revealed, but the decision to roll back from inviting bids from all members will please a number of boards who had been opposed to it, including the BCCI and ECB. All men's, women's and Under-19 events in the next cycle will be selected rather than bid for. The process of selecting hosts for men's events in the cycle - which now includes the return of the Champions Trophy and an expanded 50-over World Cup and T20 World Cup - will begin this month, with all events allocated a host by September.
The hosting process for women's and U-19 events will commence in November and, the ICC said, "will be an opportunity to engage with a wider range of Members including first-time hosts."
The decision to implement bidding for events was one of the more contentious outcomes of an ICC meeting in October 2019, that has since rumbled through discussions on the next cricket calendar. Potentially opening up the ability for any member - full, associate or affiliate - to bid to host ICC events was a significant shift from how event locations were decided upon in the previous eight-year cycle: all the major global men's events were essentially divvied up between Australia, India and England.
In February 2020 the ICC formally began that process by emailing all members and asking them to tender expressions of interest for any of their events. Manu Sawhney, then the ICC CEO, visited several member countries to whip up interest and a number of members, including PCB, CSA and the BCB, indicated they would be bidding. The BCCI, ECB or CA notably did not, however, signalling their unhappiness with the process.
As recently as February this year the BCCI was spelling out its objections to the idea of bidding, arguing that only a few members had the infrastructure in place to host the biggest events. The new selection process will not necessarily rule out other members from hosting events; Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, has been open to exploring new markets for tournaments in ICC meetings and the BCCI is thought to be broadly supportive of a World Cup in Africa, and a global T20 event at least partially hosted in the US. But along with the ECB and CA it does also want to ensure that some of cricket's biggest events are staged in some of its biggest markets.
That is the argument that has now been accepted by the ICC. "The revised approach to selecting hosts for our events will give us much more flexibility to grow the game and engage new fans," the ICC's acting chief executive Geoff Allardice said. "There is a smaller pool of countries with the infrastructure needed to host our senior Men's events which narrows the selection process. Additionally, many of our Members expressed interest in hosting Women's and U19 events which gives us a great opportunity to stage events in established and emerging cricket nations."
As well as the disagreement over the process of finding a host the boards of India, England and Australia were opposed to including an extra event in the new eight-year cycle, arguing that more attention needed to be paid to developing bilateral cricket. That extra event - in the guise of a return of the Champions Trophy - was reconfirmed at Tuesday's meeting.