'Big Three' commit to touring New Zealand

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 14:59 29/01/2014

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Martin Snedden hailed a positive step forward for New Zealand Cricket after they emerged from the International Cricket Council's executive meeting with commitments from the "big three" to continue regular tours.

NZC board member Snedden, who negotiated their position alongside chief executive David White, said he was happy with the outcomes of the Dubai meeting. All 10 full member nations were represented but didn't vote on the proposed revamp, which hands India, England and Australia a bigger share of cricket's global revenues and control of governance in exchange for some concessions from the original ICC "position paper" which made damning reading for the smaller nations.

After three days of intense negotiations, Snedden said NZC were poised to sign an attractive playing schedule for the Black Caps through to 2023 which mirrors the current Future Tours Programme. Inbound tours by India in particular provide NZC's major revenue stream via television and commercial rights.

"If you look at the FTP schedule between now and 2020, once we get to the end of our negotiations, what you see is pretty much what we're going to get and the same sort of principles are going to apply for the following three years," Snedden said from Dubai.

"We're going to have a balanced programme, playing against the big guys, the medium sized guys and the small guys, regular home and aways and the same types of tours as we've been having. There's no going backwards in terms of the quality of the playing programme.

"We've got good agreements we've reached with Australia, England and India in terms of what that's going to look like so we're in a pretty good place there."

NZC had several discussions with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) about the timing of home and away tours and they were signed off. That took place with the current ODI series in the background, as New Zealand took a 3-0 lead over the world champions in Hamilton. "There was a lot of interest around the game and the fact our team was so competitive I'm sure gave us an extra boost in those discussions," Snedden said.

Detail was still being worked through but Snedden was confident of a legally binding playing programme, signed between individual boards, which takes the ICC through their broadcast rights deal from 2015-2023.

Under the current FTP, New Zealand are scheduled to tour India in October 2016 and host them again in February 2019, as well as home and away series against both England and Australia in the next four years.

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NZC agreed to the proposed revenue split that gives India the biggest slice of the pie in that period, and sees New Zealand receive roughly $50 million less over eight years than they would under the old equal sharing scenario.

Based on gross revenues of US$2.5 billion for the period 2015-2023, NZC would receive US$75.5 million under the proposal. India would receive US$568 million, England US$173 million and Australia US$130.5 million.

Snedden said in the last eight years NZC received US$52 million.

"One of the major problems the ICC has had over the last few years is that India hasn't been in the camp so at governance level that's made things incredibly difficult and volatile and frustrating. To get towards a situation where they're going to be supportive of what the end result is, is a big step forward.

"Yes they do all right out of it, but so does everyone else. There's a realisation that everyone benefits from having India inside the camp."

The ICC release said there was "unanimous support" for the re-drafted set of principles in the revamp. That included scrapping the proposed relegation from test status for countries outside the top-eight, and extending the ICC's executive committee to five, represented by India, England and Australia plus two of the other seven member nations.

South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka all expressed various levels of opposition and said they would return to their respective boards to discuss it.

Snedden felt a resolution would be reached when a vote was taken next month, which requires eight of the 10 to agree.

"I've got a pretty strong degree of confidence that that it is going to happen.

"When the original draft paper was put on the table there was a feeling that that was the offer and there would be no room for negotiation. But I can say this first hand that India and England and Australia have been completely open to listening and making some adjustments.

"It's been a good step forward. I'm not shouting from the rooftops until we complete the whole negotiation and dot the Is and cross the Ts. There's a bit left to negotiate with the other countries. The feeling around the board table is immensely improved on anything they've experienced in the last couple of years. It's been hard and tough negotiations but by the time we got in the room there was a pretty strong collective feel that we're heading in the right direction."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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