New Delhi: The Indian Cricket Board’s hegemony in world cricket came under severe threat as the richest board was comprehensively out-voted on governance structure and revenue model at the ICC Board Meeting in Dubai, on Tuesday.
India was checkmated by former BCCI boss Shashank Manohar, who now helms the ICC as its first independent Chairman.
The BCCI was thrashed 1-9 when representatives of all other member nations, except India’s Amitabh Chaudhary, voted in favour of a change in the financial structure.
Their opposition to change of the governance structure was also rejected 2-8 by the ICC board with Chaudhary only finding support from Sri Lanka Cricket’s Thilanga Sumathipala.
The BCCI were opposing changes on two counts – ICC’s Governance model, which required a change in its constitution with review of full membership, and a two-tier Test structure.
The bigger issue was the contentious revenue model, which is set to bring India’s share down to half from USD 570 million. Manohar has advocated a more equitable distribution from the earlier ‘Big Three’ Model where India, Australia and England were the primary earners.
“Yes, the voting is over. It was 8-2 in favour of revamped revenue model and 9-1 in favour of constitutional changes,” a senior BCCI functionary present in Dubai said.
“The BCCI has voted against both as we had, in principle, maintained that all these changes are completely unacceptable for us. At this point, we can only say that all options are open for us. We would have to go back to our SGM and apprise the members of the situation,” he added.
It was learnt that since BCCI out rightly rejected the additional USD 100 million pay-out in revenue, it was once again given the original option of USD 290 million which is a USD 280 million cut from the USD 570 million India had been getting till last year.
A peeved senior official on Tuesday said that while it was expected that there will be resistance with current BCCI dispensation’s bete noire Manohar at the helm, they were taken by surprise when Zimbabwe and Bangladesh – the two votes that BCCI thought of as assured – never came their way.
It is also a sort of embarrassment for the Committee of Administrators (COA) as it was dealing with a lot of member nations and was extremely confident of pulling it in India’s favour.
The heavy defeat indicates that the COA failed to read the minds of the likes of Nazmul Hasan Papon, David Peever, Haroon Lorgat, all of whom came to India to discuss the changes.
“Zimbabwe have been promised USD 19 million by the ICC. On what grounds has Manohar made this promise? But strangely Bangladesh also went the other way. Today at the meeting, Manohar, in fact, said that the USD 290 million is a ‘take it or leave it’ offer,” the fuming BCCI official said.
“Now at the SGM, there were only two resolutions passed. Our representative had two mandates. Propose for deferment of the decision which was rejected. And the next option was voting against during a floor Test.
“Our aim was to protect India’s interest. Our tone was extremely conciliatory at the meeting for the best interest of the game. But what was shocking was Mr Manohar’s stance,” the official claimed.
Asked about whether India will now withdraw from the Champions Trophy, the official said, “All options are open. They have basically disrespected the Members’ Participation Agreement that was earlier signed.
“As of now the joint secretary will go back and an emergent SGM will be called. He will then apprise the General Body about the developments and an appropriate decision will be taken.”
The head of COA Vinod Rai however refused to comment on whether India will pull out of Champions Trophy.
“I would not like to comment on a hypothetical situation as none of the BCCI officials have spoken to me,” Rai said.
The official said that BCCI still does not consider it as a setback as it is “the vendetta of one man (Manohar)”.
“The ICC is yet to tell us what is the basis on which a nation like Singapore stands to gain more. What exactly are the grounds? Can they explain how are they trying to cut down the Operational Costs of ICC which is USD 160 million?” he questioned.
It is expected that majority of BCCI SGM will vote in favour of a pull-out from Champions Trophy but it will be easier said than done. One of the marquee tournaments – a sort of mini World Cup is something that cricket loving public is looking forward to.
The COA is still in power and it does have the authority to veto a decision by the General Body in case they are mulling on a pull-out.