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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australia's plan to seize joint-control of world cricket "has cleared one potential road block with the West Indies reluctantly surrendering to the coup," according to Robert Craddock of the Brisbane COURIER-MAIL. Australia, India and England "have formed an controversial alliance which will attempt to hijack control" of the Int'l Cricket Council at a meeting in Dubai Tuesday and Wednesday. The Big Three need seven out of 10 votes "to pass a resolution which would see them become the sports' new power brokers." The West Indies, despite deep-seated opposition to the radical proposal, have reportedly "gone to water behind closed doors and will vote for the proposal" which many officials sense "could be passed in some form or sent back for further refinement." The West Indies "are in a parlous financial state and cannot risk falling out of favour with India" (COURIER-MAIL, 1/28). FAIRFAX NZ NEWS' Mark Geenty reported "opposition to it has been vocal and widespread." Former ICC President Ehsan Mani of Pakistan has written a letter "calling for it to be scrapped." Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe "joined the chorus calling for the proposal to be withdrawn" Monday when he emailed ICC President Alan Isaac. The letter read, "I endorse wholeheartedly the letter by Mr Ehsan Mani to the ICC regards their position paper." Mani's analysis of the ICC's draft finance and governance proposal "includes an alarming calculation of proposed revenue sharing which sees India taking the biggest slice of the pie." Under the proposal, India would receive $568M, England $173M and Australia $130.5M. Mani's letter read, "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" (FAIRFAX NZ NEWS, 1/28). The PTI reported former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja has advised the Cricket Board "to accept the working proposal on restructuring of world cricket." Raja: "Eventually it is a proposal that will be accepted. Pakistan must make best use of this situation and try to not only get long-term financial benefits but also more series against these three nations." The PCB "has not made its stance clear but indicated it will be resisting the takeover bid of world cricket by the three nations" (PTI, 1/27).

WIDESPREAD CRITICISM: In Mumbai, former England captain Michael Atherton penned a column for the Times Of India criticizing the move. In it, Atherton wrote, "The restructuring of the distribution of the money, which is at the heart of the proposal, is based on an unfair view of ICC events, which enshrines the principle that the money belong to the countries from which they emanate. Essentially, it says that the money generated by India for these international events belongs to India (and England's to England, etc) and that the value of these events without India's participation is, essentially, worthless." He added, "Philosophically this is highly debatable, nor would it stand up to hard scrutiny" (TIMES OF INDIA, 1/27). Former South African Cricket board CEO Ali Bacher said, “The Position Paper put forward by BCCI, ECB and CA if accepted would lead to division and strife in world cricket as never seen before. ICC member countries should never forget the animosity that existed, particularly in the subcontinent and the Caribbean, when England and Australia had veto rights before 1993" (GULF NEWS, 1/27).

FACE TIME: THE NATIONAL's Osman Samiuddin reported the wheeling-dealing "has already begun." On Saturday, when most board officials from around the world arrived, "was the first time since they saw the report that they had come face to face." Once the Chief Executives' Committee meeting was over, "the real meetings began." In the words of one board head, this was the domain where the BCCI “set up shop” (THE NATIONAL, 1/26).

Australia's cricket players "have tabled a recommendation" to Cricket Australia that the Big Bash League be played in October in future seasons, according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The players' union, the Australian Cricketers' Association, "has lodged with CA a series of recommendations for change in a document compiled last year that they have called their 'state of the game' report." Central to the report is scheduling and the impact of the BBL on the other competitions. The players have recommended that in the long term "the tournament be shifted to the start of the season in October and run for the length of that month -- four-and-a-half weeks -- not seven weeks as is the case now." The players, however, "face a challenge convincing not only CA but Ten of the merits of moving the BBL." Ten, which has a deal worth A$100M in cash and contra to broadcast the BBL for this season and the next four, is "keen to retain the T20 event's place on the schedule." Ten Head of Sport David Barham said, "We're pretty happy with where [the BBL] is now" (SMH, 1/27).

F1 "drives into the unknown" on Tuesday, "launching a phalanx of cars that risk alienating and bewildering millions of fans around the world," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. The "fear is that it will turn out to be a technical jungle that baffles fans and underwhelms the generations used to listening to the scream of high-power engines." Instead of "thunderous V8 engines that shatter eardrums, this season cars will have tiny 1.6-litre V6 engines equipped with turbochargers and linked to complex battery systems to provide electrical power." It is "all so very expensive for a sport that has spent the past few months bleating about how hard up it is." It is an "expensive leap into the technological dark for F1." CEO Bernie Ecclestone "has voiced his fears that the engines will be too quiet and the sport too complicated for fans." Broadcasters, including the BBC and Sky Sports, "have met F1 executives to draw up new graphics that they hope will explain to fans how the new technology will shape the nature of racing." The Jerez circuit "tucked away in the south of Spain will provide the first view of the new cars in action" on Tuesday when preseason tests get underway. No one "knows what to expect, with many believing that the engine manufacturer that finds reliability and fuel economy from the start will be in pole position for success" (LONDON TIMES, 1/27).