(by Asif Sohail)This truly is a disgrace in the name of cricket. This is sheer blackmailing the game of Gentlemen. This is disgraceful. Cricket is going to die. Please small nations save this Gentlemen’s Game which is in serious danger”.
The cricket fans across the globe are appalled at the proposed draft prepared by the “working group” of the ICC’s Finance & Commercial Affairs (F&CA) Committee. The Board for Cricket Control in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are the key members of this Committee. The draft which has recommended wide-ranging changes in the ICC’s revenue distribution model, administrative structures and the Future Tours Program (FTP), also questions the relevance of Test rankings. The BCCI induced England and Australia which approved the draft and now trying hard for its acceptance. The BCCI which always denied to fulfill its bilateral commitments playing with Pakistan and even refused PCB’s offer to play on neutral venues are now ready to play with their rival nation at any time.
Months ago, the move was secretly initiated by the BCCI which was aimed at getting more share from the earnings from the tournaments played under the ICC. There had been a buzz among member nations that these proposals were being worked on between BCCI, CA and the ECB over the past six months but were presented to other member nations on January 9. It is also learnt that some members of the F&CA Committee were not invited to join in the discussions and were not even aware of the discussions taking place. The BCCI, CA and ECB have completely undermined the integrity and standing of the ICC.
According to the proposals the troika comprising BCCI-CA-ECB wants to control the ICC through the old “Veto Power” system which England and Australia enjoyed till early 90’s. The irony is that the same BCCI supported the PCB which initiated to abolish the “Veto Power” of England and Australia. The Big Three also want to control the wealth generated through tournaments played under the ICC. They want to change ICC’s current funding model- distribution of surplus revenues equally among Full Members and, in smaller proportions, to its Associate and Affiliate members. They want a larger share of the revenue and control over world cricket – both in the boardroom and on the field.
These proposals aimed at nothing but lust of power and money by ‘Three Bigs’ of the international cricket. The logic behind BCCI’s move that since major sponsorship in ICC”s tournaments comes from India, Australia and England, therefore they should get the major share, is absolutely rubbish. Multinationals across the globe extend their sponsorship to cricket according to the teams’ rating in international cricket. For instance if India is playing against Pakistan or Australia the sponsorship would be large than if the same Indian cricket team will be playing against Kenya, Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. So the argument given by the BCCI doesn’t make sense and that’s why the cricket lovers around the world have expressed their sturdiest opposition against these proposals.
The proposed two-tier system in Test cricket is not aimed at promoting cricket in the world. If on some fine morning we hear that USA and China, the two most powerful sporting nations in the world, have taken over the control of the International Olympic Committee or England, Spain, Germany and Italy have dominated FIFA, will we support them?
The so-called Big Three don’t want cricket to spread. Everyone knows that Cricket India are tigers in their own country, they can’t win Test matches abroad. What has India achieved outside its own home grounds? In recent years India has 5-0 whitewash against England and a 4-0 whitewash against Australia. A country of over 1 billion has yet to produce a genuine world class fast bowler in its 82 year Test cricket history. Also remember a recent 5-0 whitewash of England in Australia. Is that performance can be called progress of Test cricket? Setting aside money, what cricket progress are these Big Three talking about?
International cricket finds itself at a crossroads. The larger entities are nowadays forced to choose between what is best for the game and what is best financially. BCCI, CA and ECB lean more towards a profit-driven model whereas other Boards are still mulling ways to counter them. If this kind of formation is going to be approved then there is no use of having “ICC” in the world cricket. It is better to drop these three countries from world cricket and let them play with each other. Without these countries, other countries can play with each other. Now, it is very important to think about world cricket and spread cricket all over the world.
The lust for money has changed the values across the globe and cricket is not an exception. The move by these so-called Big Three is definitely not doing good to cricket. Instead of promoting cricket, they are busy to make money for themselves. They never think good for other countries. If they want to kill cricket, then they can go for it, it will be like “Duck and Golden Eggs” story.