The end of the ICC

2014-01-27 11:49
ICC (File)

Jonty Rhodes talks about a controversial new ICC bid for England, Australia and India to seize power at the expense of other nations. Watch.

The indian (BCCI), english (ECB) and australian (CA) cricket bodies have decided to do away with the ICC. The new structure would still be called the ICC, but in reality no other countries would matter and the spirit of modern cricket would be gone.

A proposed four country supreme council would control every aspect from on-field matters, ethics and scheduling, to finance and development. The above mentioned cabal would have permanent places on  the council, with a place kept for the most well behaved suck-up from the remaining countries. With a 3-1 voting advantage to the cabal, even this country would have zero influence.

The prime motivation appears to be money. The largest part of the new proposal is about how to ensure that the overwhelming majority of the growth in revenue falls into indian coffers. This should be a large worry for the other boards.

It sounds like a combination of carrot and stick is being used to push through the new proposal. The carrot is a small amount of extra money and guaranteed tours for those members who support the blitzkrieg style power grab. The stick is of course the removal of indian money and participation.

The question that boards should be asking is whether the BCCI can be trusted to follow through on these kinds of deals. By breaking their agreements with South Africa, the BCCI clearly demonstrated that they can’t operate in good faith, so I would recommend that any who think the BCCI will hold to future agreements should think again. It is clear that the only reason CSA did not take the BCCI to court is the significant loss in revenue from a completely cancelled tour. If the new proposals do indeed get passed, there won’t even be a theoretical court case to consider.

More importantly than the new division of income is the change in the power structure. Once the supreme council is established there is really nothing stopping them from changing the division of income again. One might approve the current proposal on the hope of maintaining current income levels only to be completely defunded within a few years. Like an “enabling act”, this proposal is a direct route to a total loss of voice and democracy within cricket.

Why care? Well, if australia, england and india decide to play only each other, in order to milk their spectators for more money, this will significantly drop the standard of test cricket in general. Not just for teams who don’t play them, but for these countries as well. In terms of actual cricket, these countries hardly dominate, so they can’t claim they are too good for the rest. If you are interested in good cricket, not rich spectators, then all the countries simply have to play one another regularly.

It will also affect the level of cricket in other formats. The reality is that without an equitable distribution of funds derived from ICC events the smaller countries will simply not be able to compete in the long run.

It is one thing for a private company to make short term decisions to improve the balance sheet at the expense of fundamentals. It is quite another for the governing body of an association charged with protecting and developing a game to do the same. National teams represent their countries and their people. Ensuring that the process is financially viable is important, but profit is simply not the goal of international cricket. That the ICC should become the vehicle for enriching india is simply ridiculous.

What makes the situation so pathetic is that england and australia have gone along for the ride. Like odious toads and lickspittle lapdogs they are already counting the money, perhaps adjusting their bonuses. I also noticed Dave Richardson’s name on the list of conspirators. If true, he should be ashamed and ejected from any relationship with CSA.

The rest of the world should stand up to india and say: “The ICC belongs to the world. If you want to play tests and take part in World Cups, you need us. Make as much money from local and club cricket as you like. In the international arena you are just one more country.”

It will never happen. Especially not if england and australia keep doing the bidding of their indian masters. In the mean time all we can do is to keep dominating on the field

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