Battlelines drawn for the ICC takeover stoush

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 08:42 28/01/2014

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Former New Zealand Cricket chairman Sir John Anderson has joined the chorus of disapproval over the proposed International Cricket Council (ICC) revamp which could reportedly cost NZC as much as $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 FTP 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 ICC officials, and former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd among others.

Anderson, who with the late Chris Doig helped lock in the FTP to ensure regular tours to New Zealand by the big nations, emailed Mani saying he fully supported his response.

"The current governance process and income distribution is based on the objective for ICC to materially develop and grow world cricket," Anderson wrote.

"This was the objective of the MCC and the English Cricket Board - who both shared this mission in the preceding 80 years.

"The Future Tours Programme was an integral part in raising the standard of test cricket as well as expanding the number of test-cricket nations. 

"Prior to 1995 ICC had revenues (from subscription) of £250,000 [NZ$503,000] per annum.

"The establishment of unity by common interest resulted in the ability to have ICC events that underpinned ICC costs and development costs for all members, which in turn has supported the Full Members Tour Schedule. It has also resulted in ICC being able to hold events on a basis that has created material revenues for ICC and all its members.

"The proposal will probably create a division in the test-playing nations which will undermine all test-playing nations' revenues as test cricket will have no context.

"It will also have a material effect on the development programme for associate and affiliate members."

Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe also called yesterday for the proposal to be withdrawn, when he emailed compatriot Alan Isaac, the ICC president.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," Crowe wrote.

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.

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Based on gross revenues of US$2.5 billion (NZ$3.03b) for the period 2015-2023, NZC would receive US$75.5 million under the new proposal.

Under the existing system, revenue is distributed evenly among the 10 full member nations, which would see NZC receive US$117.5 million, a difference of US$42 million (NZ$50.9 million).

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

"The biggest gainers are BCCI, ECB and CA," 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."

NZC 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 per cent to 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," he said.

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 happens under the FTP.

Revenue from India tours via television rights is by far NZC's highest earner.

His five goals from the ICC meeting, as directed by the NZC board, are: a workable governance system at the ICC; ratification of the existing FTP 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 FTP and ICC events schedule; and an ICC revenue sharing model "that guarantees strong growth of NZC's revenue for the 2015-23 period".

All signatories to Mani's letter agreed that the ICC needed to re-examine the conclusions of the 2012 Woolf Report into ICC governance, that recommended, among other things, improved 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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