13 Dec 2017
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ICC board hands more power to BCCI

MUMBAI: The decks have been cleared for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to play the big daddy of the world cricket as the International Cricket Council (ICC) approved a slew of resolutions relating to the governance, competition and financial models of the ICC at a meeting in Singapore.

Notwithstanding opposition from cricket boards of South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the ICC board voted in favour of resolutions that give unbridled powers to the BCCI, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA).

Eight out of the 10 full ICC members voted in favour of the resolutions, with Sri Lanka and Pakistan abstaining from voting as they felt they needed more time to discuss the amended resolutions with their respective boards.

The ICC board also confirmed that all full members will enter into a series of contractually binding bilateral agreements as a matter of urgency so that they can confirm a comprehensive schedule of matches in a Future Tours Programme (FTP) that will now be extended to 2023.

Sports broadcasters in India will be keenly watching the bilateral agreements that BCCI is slated to sign with foreign cricket boards. The cricket boards of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand will be hoping to get that lucrative India tour, as their broadcast rights income are dependent on the number of times that India visits their country.

The bilateral agreement has been brought in to weed out economically unviable bilateral tours involving weaker teams. Now that there is no ICC FTP compulsion to adhere to, the matches between top-tier teams like India, Australia, South Africa and England will increase in frequency.

The move is set to benefit the BCCI as it is no longer obliged to follow an FTP. Chances are that it will invite teams more often to shore up its broadcast rights income.

The ECB and CA are also expected to act on the same lines as the BCCI which is why the three came together to push for the recommendations of the position paper.

If the assumption comes true, then Star India will be the biggest beneficiary as it holds the rights to the three above-mentioned cricket boards.

Full members to rake in more moolah

Another key resolution approved today was a new financial model which will see full members gaining greater financial recognition based on their contribution to the game, particularly in terms of finance, their ICC history and on-field performances in the three formats.

This decision is the outcome of a negotiation between members, which became necessary to provide long-term certainty of participation of all members in both ICC events and bilateral series against other members, the ICC said.

Without that certainty, the rights to ICC events, which are to be taken to market this year, would have been significantly impacted and, by extension, so would the financial support that has driven the growth of cricket around the world, it added.

Allaying fears of some members, the ICC said that the new financial structure would ensure that none of the full members were worse off than they are at present and—if forecasts of revenue generation prove to be correct—all would be significantly better off.

The agreement of the model has been an important part of a wider negotiation that will now provide long-term certainty of participation in ICC events by all full member teams, the ICC stated.

It must be noted here that the BCCI had threatened to pull out of ICC events unless the resolutions part of the ICC’s position paper are approved.

BCCI chief N Srinivasan to call the shots at ICC

BCCI strongman N Srinivasan has fulfilled his dream of leading the world cricket as he will chair the ICC board starting July this year. The ICC board will continue to be the primary decision-making body.

A new executive committee (ExCo) will be formed to report to the board. The initial chair of this ExCo will be Wally Edwards from CA while ECB’s Giles Clarke will continue to chair the finance and commercial affairs committee (F&CA). These roles will be for an initial two-year transitional period to 2016 only.

Once this transitional period is completed, the chair of the ICC board will be elected from within the ICC board with all full member directors entitled to stand for election. The BCCI, CA and ECB will be represented on both sub-committees, along with two representatives of the other full members (who will be elected by the board), the ICC said.

Test championship thrown out of the ‘window’

The ICC board said that the World Test Championship will be replaced with an ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 and 2021, as it proved impossible to come up with a format for a four-team finals event in Test cricket that fits the culture of Test cricket and preserves the integrity of the format.

The most recent ICC Champions Trophy event proved to be very popular with supporters around the world and the future events will build on this success. It’s also an event that any ICC member (including the top associate members) can aspire to by improving their performances in ODI cricket.

With the ICC Champions Trophy, along with the ICC Cricket World Cup and ICC World Twenty20 and the formats and venues already confirmed for all of these events, the ICC has a really attractive package for 2015–23 to take to the market.

Test cricket fund

The ICC board also approved a Test cricket fund to help ensure all of the Test playing teams will be able to sustain a home programme of Test cricket through to 2023. The fund will be available to all the Test playing members except the BCCI, CA and ECB.

Breaking the glass ceiling

Associate members now have a clear pathway to play Test cricket. The winner of the next ICC Intercontinental Cup will be entitled to taking part in a play-off against the bottom-ranked full member and, if successful, obtain Test status. This complements the pathways that are already in place for any member to be able to qualify for the major events in ODI and T20I cricket.

Enhanced support for the leading associate members

Funds that will be directly distributed to the associate and affiliate members (AMs) will continue to grow, building on a dramatic increase in the previous cycle (2007–15) if revenue targets are achieved. There is also a commitment to continue to support tournaments for all of the AMs and a range of centralised services.

The planning process for the next cycle can now begin in earnest, and as part of this, there will be a review—in partnership with the AMs and their representatives—of the appropriate scope of services and tournaments as well as the suitability of the current scorecard distribution model of the funds.

Several of these decisions still now need to be considered and adopted by the ICC’s full council. The relevant resolutions will now be drafted through the appropriate committees, including the governance committee and the board before being submitted for approval to the full council.

ICC president Alan Isaac said, “The board has made some significant decisions today which provide us with long-term certainty in relation to the future governance, competition and financial models of the ICC.

“This decision comes after extensive discussions between members that I helped initiate and were given impetus through a position paper presented by the BCCI, Cricket Australia and ECB in early January.

“Since this time a set of resolutions have been drafted, negotiated and modified—based on a set of principles agreed by the ICC Board on 28 January—and finalised at the meeting today. There were eight full members who were in a position to support the resolution today and the two who abstained have pledged to further discuss the issues with an aim to reach unanimous approval over the coming weeks.”

ICC CEO David Richardson said, “We now have clear direction from the Board and it is our job to implement the approved resolution.”