A big win for cricket

Windhoek – Six members of the International Cricket Council (Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa) have thwarted propositions by England, Australia and India to make the game a preserve for the affluent.

This happened last week at the ICC general meeting attended by all the 10 Test playing nations and will always be remembered as the time cricket won the battle over money and influence from India, Australia and England.

Some analysts and supporters of the game in the smaller nations (Zimbabwe and Bangladesh) have described the success by the six nations as the day cricket prevailed over rich nations’ ambition to drive the agenda of making the game a preserve of the few.

So realistic were the chances of little Zimbabwe and Bangladesh being thrown into the doldrums of international cricket if the knockout programme was endorsed that publications in these two countries are celebrating the ICC decision.

Prior to the meeting the ICC were proposing a knockout Test match setup that would have resulted in the superior teams (England, Australia and India) controlling the game while Zimbabwe, South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, New Zealand and Pakistani would have to see themselves contesting for supremacy with the poor performing team being relegated to the second tier league.

Needless to say, if it had been upheld, the knockout set up would have seen Zimbabwe and Bangladesh being thrown into even worse financial situations than they are already facing.

The ICC general meeting released a communiqué saying, among other things, the world cricket governing body has endorsed to;

·  Create opportunities for all members to play all formats of cricket on merit, with participation based on meritocracy; no immunity to any country, and no change to membership status.

·  Creation of a Test Cricket Fund paid equally on an annual basis to all full members (except the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board) to encourage and support Test match cricket.

·  A larger percentage from the increasing associate members’ surplus will be distributed to the higher performing non-full members.

·  Mutually agreed bi-lateral FTP agreements, which will be legally binding and bankable and will run for the same period as the ICC commercial rights cycle (2015-2023).

·  Recognition of the need for strong leadership of the ICC, involving leading members, which will involve BCCI taking a central leadership responsibility.

·  A need to recognise the varying contribution of full members to the value of ICC events through the payment of ‘contribution costs’.

·  The establishment of an Executive Committee (ExCo) and Financial and Commercial Affairs Committee (F&CA) to provide leadership at an operational level, with five members, including BCCI, CA and ECB representatives. Anybody from within the Board can be elected to chair the Board and anybody from within ExCo and F&CA can be elected to chair those committees. With the ICC undergoing a transitional period that includes a new governance structure and media rights cycle, this leadership will be provided for two years from June 2014 by: a BCCI representative to chair the ICC Board, a CA representative to chair the ExCo and an ECB representative to chair the F&CA.

·  A new company will be incorporated to tender future commercial rights for ICC events.  There will be three major ICC events in each four-year cycle, including the ICC Champions Trophy, which will replace the ICC World Test Championship.

·  ICC will utilise a more efficient operating model for all ICC events, with a simplified accounting model across ICC income and expenditure to help better manage ICC administrative and event costs.

With such recommendations one would not have imagined such an agreement considering that countries like Zimbabwe are battling the demons of a poor financial status that would have exposed them to any type of manipulation.

February 2014
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