DUBAI - After days of hectic lobbying and bargaining the ICC board settled for a period of consultation and discussion over a set of principles which, if approved, will grant the BCCI, the ECB and CA a bigger share of cricket's global revenues and a bigger control of the game's governance.
In a list of principles, that an ICC press release described as "unanimously supported," there were concessions granted to the other seven member nations, in the shape of the abolition of the two-tier concept which would have relegated Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to the lower division, and the expansion of the proposed Executive Committee from four to five. Money from a newly created Test Match Fund was expanded to benefit not just six nations as mentioned in the draft but seven, with the addition of South Africa.
The draft proposals, put together by a working group of the Financial & Commercial Affairs committee of the ICC, were not put to vote following resolute opposition from a group of members who insisted on further deliberations. While the PCB, CSA and SLC asked for any decision on the proposals to be deferred, the BCB became the first board to formally communicate to the ICC that it was "against" the proposal.
"We have communicated to the ICC Board that the BCB will not endorse any proposal that compromises Bangladesh's full member rights in terms of status and participation," BCB's acting CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhary said. "We respect the views of the member countries who have expressed similar sentiments."*
According to one insider, none of the Big Three pressed for voting, "since they knew that a vote wouldn't be feasible. The next round of negotiations, read bargaining, begins now." A follow-up meeting will be held to discuss the proposals again next month.
A few hours after the ICC sent its press release, the PCB issued a statement saying, "no decision with regard to any proposed changes as per the Position Paper submitted by BCCI, CA and ECB have been made in today's ICC Board meeting. The PCB clearly stated at the meeting that the guiding principles were subject to PCB's Governing Board's approval. These matters will be placed before the BOG (board of governors) and thereafter PCB will take its position at the next ICC Board meeting."
CSA also sent out a release to "clarify" the ICC's statement, and said its board would meet soon to discuss the principles. "The support is subject to the approval of the respective Boards of the member countries after which a final decision will be taken at a follow-up ICC Board meeting on February 8," the release said.
An official from one of the other seven boards said the term "unanimous" support was a "misleading" one. "We were offered amended terms and we will take them back to our Board and discuss it - there is nothing to that. They are only trying to mislead the world public with the statement." The ICC press release quoted president Alan Isaac as saying, "there is more work to be done by the Members in developing their schedules of bilateral cricket while at the ICC we need to work through the detail of the manner in which these principles will be implemented ... Extensive work will now be undertaken in advance of a follow-up Board meeting next month."
Isaac was hopeful that an agreement could be reached soon. "The principles agreed today provide clear evidence that through the course of further discussions over the coming weeks we can be increasingly confident in achieving consensus."