Battlelines drawn for stoush over control of ICC

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014

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Some of cricket's most powerful figures have slammed the proposed International Cricket Council revamp which could cost New Zealand Cricket more than NZ$50 million over the next eight years.

The ICC's finance and commercial affairs committee's "position paper" - which hands executive board control to the big three of India, England and Australia, and proposes scrapping the Future Tours Programme and introducing a new revenue sharing model - gets its first airing around the board table in Dubai today.

Opposition to it has been vocal and widespread, with former ICC president Ehsan Mani of Pakistan penning a letter calling for it to be scrapped. It was undersigned by Australians Malcolm Speed and Malcolm Gray, both former senior officials at the ICC, and former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd among others.

Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe joined the chorus calling for the proposal to be withdrawn yesterday when he emailed compatriot Alan Isaac, the ICC president.

"I endorse wholeheartedly the letter by Mr Ehsan Mani to the ICC regards their position paper," it read.

Mani's analysis of the ICC's draft finance and governance proposal, which will be voted on today or tomorrow, includes an alarming calculation of proposed revenue sharing which sees India taking the biggest slice of the pie.

Based on gross revenues of US$2.5 billion for the period 2015-2023, NZ Cricket would receive US$75.5m under the proposal.

Under the existing system, revenue is distributed evenly among the 10 full member nations, with NZ Cricket receiving US$117.5m, a difference of US$42m (NZ$50.9m).

Under the proposal, India would receive US$568m, England US$173m and Australia US$130.5m.

"The biggest gainers are BCCI [India], ECB [England] and CA [Australia]," Mani's letter states.

"In addition, ICC events for the period 2015-2023 will be held only in India, England and Australia. These boards will receive hosting fees for the events in addition to the ICC distributions they propose.

"A point that also needs to be addressed is: why does BCCI need more money at the expense of other countries? The domestic and international media fees that BCCI receives from playing with other members are massive, and underpin BCCI's financial position. It is the richest cricket board in the world."

NZ Cricket chief executive David White and board member Martin Snedden will attend the Dubai meeting. Snedden said last week he was comfortable with India receiving more ICC money, given they generate 70-80 per cent of ICC revenue. "I understand how it's constructed and we're accepting that India is going to take a much bigger slice of the pie and we're not resisting that."

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Snedden said a priority this week was to lock in commitments from India and other major nations that they would tour New Zealand once in every four-year cycle as is currently locked in under the Future Tours Programme. Revenue from India tours via television rights is by far NZ Cricket's highest earner.

His five goals from the ICC meeting, as directed by the NZ Cricket board, are: a workable governance system at the ICC; ratification of the existing Future Tours Programme schedule through to 2020, with the hope of extending it to 2023; confirmation of the current ICC events schedule (World Cups and World T20) through to 2023; a firm commitment from India to the Future Tours Programme and ICC events schedule; and an ICC revenue sharing model "that guarantees strong growth of NZ Cricket's revenue for the 2015-23 period".

All signatories to Mani's letter agreed the ICC needed to re-examine the conclusions of the 2012 Woolf Report into ICC governance, which recommended, among other things, an improvement in governance standards, the appointment of independent board directors and greater transparency.

Cricinfo reported former Cricket South Africa managing director Ali Bacher also came out in support of Mani. In a letter to Isaac, Bacher reminded him of the "animosity" that existed, particularly in the Asian subcontinent and the Caribbean, when England and Australia had the veto in the ICC. He said that the position paper, if accepted, would "lead to division and strife in world cricket as never seen before".

- Fairfax Media

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