The ICC meeting that is about to start in India is likely to be one of the most heated for many years.
The proposal by the Boards of India, Australia and England to take over the complete functioning of the ICC, as opposed to just the allocation of revenue as was reported in September of last year, has not gone down well. South Africa, the current world number one test team would be one such nation on the outside. So far most of the Board members in India have been extremely tight-lipped about what is to transpire when the meeting commences on the 28th.
The word is that the ICC is considering a comprehensive structural overhaul and the proposal is that those important decisions be left to the BCCI(India) CA (Australia) and ECB ( England & Wales). Currently the ICC distributes 75% of its revenues to its 10 full member boards and the remaining funds are distributed amongst the Associate and affiliate members.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has understandably been the first to voice their opposition to such a move as it could be the death knell for them as a cricketing nation. Already having to play all their series outside of their home country, any cut in revenues would be extremely harmful. They fear that the plan is to divide world cricket into two divisions, and that it may be their fate to be placed in the second tier. With no way of raising monies with home series, that may seal their future fate in the overall scheme of things, until political stability returns to Pakistan.
New Zealand Cricket has interestingly backed such a move. NZC Board member and former Test Cricketer Martin Snedden has been quoted as saying that he does not see New Zealand being “disadvantaged or “downgraded” by such a move. Although if the two-tier system does come into play New Zealand could find itself in the second tier or relegated to that level in due course.
The big plus for this system is the Associate members may be able to push for a spot at the Test Match table.
One other matter on the agenda is the Future Tours Programme. Interestingly just over a week ago cricket luminaries such as Rahul Dravid, Steve Waugh, Anil Kumble, Shaun Pollock, and Mike Brearley who are all members of the MCC’s World Cricket Committee met and stated that the Future Tours Programme must be binding. Lately several tour schedules have been changed. India curtailed their series with South Africa to accommodate a series against the West Indies. Several other nations have altered the schedule dropping Test matches in favour of extra one day internationals or T20 matches. So it will be interesting to see the views of the ICC on this particular issue, and whether they take heed of the MCC’s committee.
The same committee stated what may seem obvious to many fans, that T20 competitions were the most likely to be open to corruption. They received a presentation from the IPL’s Sundar Raman on the anti corruption measures that have been put in place to minimise such eventualities. The committee has suggested that the ICC implement a system whereby it becomes a requirement for any global T20 competition to sign up to a minimum set of anti-corruption standards. These to be provided by the ICC’s anti Corruption and Security unit. Only then should the ICC sanction the tournament.
The MCC Committee also backed a World Test Championship which has been on the table for a number of years. They believe this is essential to safeguard the future of Test cricket. However it is the cricket broadcasters, the people who pay to air these games, who are loathe to support such a concept. The ICC was looking to have this commence in 2017 and the word is that this date may be pushed back. The MCC Committee believe that the ICC should commit to at least the top two ranked test teams in the world contesting a final in 2017.
As if these issues were not enough to be discussing, also on the table is the proposed move of the ICC’s head office from Dubai to either Singapore, Cardiff or Colombo. There is no chance of the ICC will leave the jurisdiction of the United Arab Emirates in the immediate future, – a location where it has been based since leaving Lord’s back in 2005, – however in a working paper, the ICC’s financial and commercial affairs committee states: “Under UAE laws it is not necessary for the management to be located in the same jurisdiction. The question is which location will suit the power brokers from India, England and Australia? Singapore may well get the nod being almost a mid point between them.
Interesting times ahead for cricket. Will the various boards listen to the MCC’s committee? Unlikely as a power struggle is in the offing, if not, expect plenty to be said post meeting