Cricket Nations Uneasy Over Reform Of International Cricket Council
No amount of Int'l Cricket Council spin or tinkering "has eased fears that radical governance changes pushed by the richest nations will spell the erosion of international cricket as we know it," according to Chloe Saltau of THE AGE. That fear was voiced by the Federation of Int'l Cricketers' Associations after the ICC sent out a press release trumpeting unanimous support for ''principles'' behind radical reforms. But the support "appeared less than unanimous" when Cricket South Africa said that its own board "needed to consider the proposals before voting on them" at a follow-up ICC meeting on Feb. 8. Reportedly, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan "also have reservations." Some concessions "have been made to the initial plan drawn up by the big three." But "there is no prospect of compromise" on the central plank of the proposal -- a financial distribution model that would see the Board of Control for Cricket in India "receive up to eight times more than the weakest full member" when revenues increase to A$2.5B ($2.1B). FICA Exec Chair Paul Marsh fears the gulf between the richest and poorest, and leaving boards to negotiate bilateral series without the safety net of the Future Tours Program will lead to domestic Twenty20 leagues like the Indian Premier League "taking over from international cricket" (THE AGE, 1/30). NEWSTALK ZB reported New Zealand's representative on the board, Martin Snedden, has told the "Crowd Goes Wild Breakfast" that reports of financial losses "are inaccurate." Snedden: "Over the last eight years we have received about $2 million from the ICC events program, the deal that we're heading towards making now is going to see those revenues go up to maybe $70-100 million depending on the value of the rights sold.'' Concerns "had also been raised" over the implications for the smaller nations over the axing of the Future Tour Program. However, Snedden said that they "aren't as significant as reports suggest" (NEWSTALK ZB, 1/29). Former English cricketer Mike Atherton penned a column for the TIMES OF INDIA. In it, he wrote, "As a body, the ICC will not be missed. Incompetent, wasteful, as the draft proposal hammered home time and again, and self-interested, the directors had a chance to make a stand for something better and brighter, but chose instead to accept the scraps and the concessions on offer." He added, "South Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh huffed and puffed to get some concessions, but they are minor ... the principle that the money for ICC tournaments is owned by the countries that produce it, was accepted. That was the non-negotiable from the Board of Control for Cricket in India; it was always about the money. That, and control" (TIMES OF INDIA, 1/29). In Mumbai, Vijay Tagore opined, "In the end, it was all's well that ends well." The int'l administrators of the game "have kissed and made up." There was some give-and-take among the members "but the spirit of the draft was not changed." One of the biggest decisions taken at the meeting was the appointment of BCCI President N. Srinivasan as ICC chairman. He will be "the first holder of the post, being specially created from this year." The ICC will "have a president too, but only in ambassadorial role." Srinivasan is the current BCCI representative for the ICC Board and his appointment "has been confirmed by the world body." It was "also confirmed by a BCCI official who is in the know of the developments." A BCCI official said, "That is what has been agreed upon. Mr. Srinivasan will be the chairman of the ICC" (MUMBAI MIRROR, 1/29).