We are asking for our right: BCCI

Set to benefit immensely from the structural overhaul of the ICC, the BCCI on Thursday unanimously backed the plan which would cede executive decision-making in world cricket to India, Australia and England.

In an Emergent Meeting called here, the Indian Board reviewed the proposals of the ICC Commercial Rights Working Group, which have created quite a flutter in international cricket.

“The committee discussed at length the proposals of the ICC Working Group and felt that this proposal was in the interest of cricket at large,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement after the meeting.

The meeting was chaired by Board vice-president Shivlal Yadav in the absence of N Srinivasan.

The BCCI unanimously agreed to approve the proposal of the Working Group of the ICC’s Finance and Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee in which the Indian Board, Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket Board are key members. The BCCI members “authorised the office-bearers to enter into agreements with ICC for participating in the ICC events and host ICC events, subject to the proposal being approved in the ICC Board”.

The BCCI also “authorised its office-bearers to discuss bilateral matches with other Full Members (including Pakistan) and sign formal Future Tours Programme agreements”.

As things stand right now, 75 per cent of ICC earnings are divided between the 10 full member countries equally and the remainder goes to associate members.

In the lead-up to negotiations for the next ICC commercial rights cycle -- covering the period from 2015 to 2023 -- India apparently wants its share of the global game’s money to reflect the proportion of revenue the country generates.

The planned overhaul of the ICC would also see a new executive committee formed by India, England and Australia that would decide most of the key issues in the game, and a relegation system, from which they would be protected.

Other changes would include a two-tier system for Test cricket in which India, Australia and England would be exempt from relegation and removal of control over scheduling from the ICC to allow countries to essentially pick and choose who they play.

Cricket South Africa has spoken out against the plan, calling for an immediate withdrawal of the “fundamentally flawed” proposal.

It has also drawn criticism from the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association Executive Chairman Paul Marsh, who has called it unconstitutional.

The structural overhaul plan is set to be presented at the ICC’s quarterly meeting in Dubai on January 28 and 29. It must have the support of seven of the 10 full member nations to be passed.

Defending the proposed structural revamp of the ICC,  Patel said the plan is a “recognition” of the country’s revenue generation capacity.

“It’s a recognition of India’s involvement in cricket and revenue generation by India. We are asking the legitimate right and it would not shrink cricketing activity in any way,” Patel said.

“There have been no objections so far. It’s a question of understanding, not a question of power game. We are not asking more than what we should,” he explained.

Patel said the Board discussed the possibility of having Tests in a revived and revamped Champions Trophy. “We are going to propose an ICC champions trophy including the Tests,” he said.

Patel said the Board did not discuss the speculation surrounding Srinivasan aiming for the ICC President’s post. “There’s no such proposal,” he said. Another senior member of the Board, Jagmohan Dalmiya, said that the reforms in ICC will prove to be good for the game. “Only time will tell whether the move would shrink cricket or expand the game globally,” he said.

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