New ICC president named
Formerly vice-president of the world cricket-governing body, Sonn took over from Mr Ehsan Mani during the ICC’s annual conference at Lord’s in London last Friday.
“Standing here as the first South African president of the ICC is a very humbling experience, especially as it is not something that could have happened a generation ago,” said Advocate Percy Sonn on assuming office.
Sonn is the sixth man to fill the senior role at the ICC. He takes over from Mani after serving two years as the ICC vice-president. He will serve as ICC President for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three.
The 56-year old lawyer is a seasoned administrator whose record in South African cricket stretches back to the mid-1970s when he served as vice-president at the Western Province Cricket Board in the mid-1970s.
He played a crucial role during the transfer to the post-apartheid regime and eventually served as president of the United Cricket Board of South Africa for three years until 2003.
According to an ICC news release, Sonn told the organisation’s business forum at Lord’s on the day he took over from Ehsan Mani as president that the next 12 months will be crucial for the long-term health of the game.
“During that time we will be negotiating the sale of our commercial and broadcast rights for the next eight years to 2015. The last time we did that, in 2000, we received US$550 million and that money has benefited every one of our members in some way. It provided financial security that has allowed us to develop plans to take the game forward and the next agreement will, we hope, do the same.”
However, Sonn cautioned against unbridled commercialisation, pointing out that the ICC should ensure that financial considerations do not completely dictate its long-term strategy.
“But while commercialism is important, we must not let it dominate the landscape or lose sight of what this great game is all about. Financial considerations cannot be our only driver and cricketing considerations must also play a vital part in any decisions the ICC makes.
“After all, we should all remember how and why we came to love this great game. I did so because of the joy I got from playing it, the excitement I got from watching it and the fellowship that came from being part of a team sport that has always embodied fair play.
“I am keen that we remember all these things so we can ensure cricket can be a strong sport growing stronger during my presidency.”