rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » Three cheers for cricket?

Three cheers for cricket?

February 10, 2014 13:59 IST

Three cheers for cricket?

     Next

Next
Aabhas Sharma

There is a controversial change in the way world cricket revenues will be shared among member countries. India, Australia and England will corner a big chunk and in exchange is expected to provide lea

‘Most cricket boards are in perilous financial situation and this idea will sound the death knell for them…’

"The greed of these three boards will put nails in the coffin of the game…"

George Orwell, in his much-acclaimed book, 1984, made the famous observation that "everyone is equal but some are more equal than others". Orwell's observation could have held true for the old cricketing order where it was the world's worst kept secret that the Board for Cricket Control in India, or BCCI, was the big daddy of global cricket. Now, the secret has become the law. After the International Cricket Council (ICC) wrangled over controversial rewards to the big daddies in the past two weeks, the game's administrators have accepted a new governance model that would controversially give the three boards of India, Australia and England a big say in ICC's running and a bigger chunk of its revenues.

A pithy word of caution to Peter Parker by his uncle Tom in the movie Spiderman has become a catchphrase for an effort to rein in ambition: "With greater power, comes greater responsibility". For BCCI specially, among cricket's Big Three, greater power means the ability to call shots and dictate terms. That it is capable of peddling influence was quite evident when ICC met in Singapore on Saturday and resolved to accept changes proposed in a ‘position paper’ purportedly prepared by ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee, but lambasted as having been "drawn up by BCCI in the Cricket Australia boardroom with a pen from the English and Wales Cricket Board". The proposals make BCCI, CA and ECB the financial controllers of the game and in the process nullify the essence of equality that ICC stands for. As former England opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott termed it, "It's the arrogance and the greed of those three countries in wanting to rule the world of cricket."

Kindly click Next to read more...


Image: BCCI President N Srinivasan, right, with Cricket Australia Chairman Wally Edwards.
Photographs: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

     Next

Three cheers for cricket?

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The people who want to control cricket are BCCI President N Srinivasan, CA Chairman Wally Edwards and ECB President Giles Clarke. The story goes that these three gentlemen along with their few trusted aides met at a plush Chennai hotel to chalk out the strategy to wrest control of world cricket. After the meeting in Singapore, the three men will hold important posts in a revamped council. Srinivasan will be ICC Board chairman from July for two years. A new Executive Committee has been formed and will be led by Edwards, while Clarke will continue to head the Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee.

Among the most controversial of the resolutions is that a member that contributes most to ICC's revenue stream will stand to gain the maximum. In this case it is none other than BCCI. The change is massive. Under the old revenue-sharing arrangement, of the income of $2.5 billion that ICC expects in 2015-23, all 10 full members would have received an equal $117.5 million each as their share.

Associate members would share $522.5 million. Under the fresh arrangement, $1.64 billion would be distributed among the full members as ‘contribution costs’. The keyword is contribution - and BCCI contributes the most to ICC revenues. So, BCCI will receive $563 million, ECB $173 million and CA $130.5 million. Two among the most aggrieved of the rest will see a big drop in their shares, Cricket South Africa (CSA) to $93 million and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to $80.5 million. Of the dissenters, the Pakistan Cricket Board and SLC abstained from voting at Singapore, while CSA was prevailed upon to support the proposals. The West Indies Cricket Board supported the move, as did Cricket New Zealand, and why wouldn't they? Both the boards earned millions through their recent series with India.

Kindly click Next to read more...




Prev     Next

Three cheers for cricket?

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"Full Members will gain greater financial recognition based on the contribution they have made to the game, particularly in terms of finance, their ICC history and their on-field performances in the three formats," said an ICC release after the meeting. "The structure of the model will ensure that none of the Full Members will be worse off than they are at present and - if forecasts of revenue generation prove to be correct - all will be significantly better off."

A former Indian selector, on condition of anonymity told Business Standard that the tier-system would be the death of cricket. "Most cricket boards are in perilous financial situation and this idea will sound the death knell for them," he says.

BCCI, on its part, believes that its claims for greater revenue share are legitimate. A few days ago, on the sidelines of the Ranji Trophy final, Sanjay Patel, BCCI secretary, had this to say: "A board that is contributing more should get more than what they get. Earlier, we used to get only 4 per cent though we were responsible for generating more than 60 per cent of ICC's total revenue. So in that aspect, it is absolutely fair to demand more." He added that the new model can be expected to generate more revenue for cricket.

Kindly click Next to read more...


Image: ICC Board approves changes to governance at a meeting in Singapore.
Photographs: Courtesy: ICC

Prev     Next

Three cheers for cricket?

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Even today, the Big Three obviously generate more revenues than the other boards. In 2012, ICC had released a list rating the net worth of all the cricketing boards, and not surprisingly BCCI had the maximum clout with $294 million. CSA was the second-richest board at $68 million. The BCCI's two megalomaniacal partners - CA and ECB - were valued lower at $23.1 million and $58.9 million, respectively. SLC has a debt of $70 million.

Six cricketing boards had sought financial assistance from the ICC, including West Indies and New Zealand. BCCI posted a net income of Rs 350 crore in 2012-13 - out of which more than Rs 230 crore came from the Indian Premier League, while the other chunk came from selling broadcasting rights. It also has sponsors for the Tests, One-dayers, T20s and IPL. In 2012, ECB signed a lucrative TV deal amounting to around 280 million pounds for four years. It already has 23 sponsors. Similarly, CA too has signed a five-year deal with Channel Nine for $500 million and has around 18 sponsors on board.

Not many former Indian cricketers are willing to speak on record on the financial muscle of BCCI. "The fact is that these three countries, apart from South Africa, are the biggest draw for spectators," argues a former wicket-keeper. "Who wants to see West Indies play now? Is anyone interested in the ongoing Sri Lanka and Bangladesh series?" he asks.

Kindly click Next to read more...


Image: The BCCI logo.
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
Tags: BCCI , ICC , SLC , IPL , ECB

Prev     Next

Three cheers for cricket?

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The new proposals had been received with cynical criticism. "The greed of these three boards will put nails in the coffin of the game," said Lalit Modi in an interview to Hindustan Times. Former cricketers - mostly overseas - too pooh-poohed the proposed amendments. South Africa's Ehsan Mani said the three boards were looking after their own interests and quoted from ICC's statute book to charge them with unethical practice. Incidentally, under Fiduciary Duties, the ICC rule book says, "Directors shall at all times serve the interests of the ICC and the sport of cricket as a whole. Directors shall not promote their own (or a group of) Cricket Board's interests at the expense of the dignity, integrity or interests of the ICC or of the sport of cricket in general."

Former England captain Michael Atherton in a column in The Times wrote, "The tone of the proposal is so arrogant and high-handed as to recall an earlier age when the organisation began as the Imperial Cricket Conference." Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe wrote in a column on Cricinfo, "It's not right to abandon upstanding nations, countries that have given their all to prop up the game, to cast them adrift. It is so disappointing that ICC has failed again to find the right formula for showcasing Test cricket and crowning a champion on a regular basis."

Kindly click Next to read more...


Image: Alan Isaac, left, President of the ICC and David Richardson, Chief Executive of the ICC.
Photographs: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Prev     Next

Three cheers for cricket?

Prev     More
Prev

More

On the other side of the fence, a former cricketer-turned-commentator says, "The truth is that money talks, and with BCCI they have money in abundance so it literally shouts." A few days before the proposals were accepted in Singapore on Saturday, he had been prophetic: "South Africa found out the hard way that on most occasions BCCI will get its way and I won't be surprised if it happens this time around as well."

The game of cricket will not suffer an untimely death with the new changes in governance and financial arrangements, and some fears are exaggerated. But as Atherton asked in his column, "If you cannot be idealistic about sport, what will you be idealistic about?" Well, when lucre is involved, can there be much of idealism around? Only the three boards can answer that.


Image: The International Cricket Council ICC headquarters in Dubai.
Photographs: Nikhil Monteiro/Reuters

Prev     More
Source: