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ICC board all set to approve policy changes

CricketICC board all set to approve policy changes

MUMBAI: For the first time since 1997, when the late Jagmohan Dalmiya became the president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and spent three years at the helm, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will see itself cornered at the board meeting of the game’s world governing body when it meets on February 4.

The ICC board is all set to go ahead and implement the new governance structure and revenue model – alongside a flurry of other policy changes – regardless of who represents the BCCI there next month.

TOI has reliably learned that “The ICC board will approve changes” regardless of the stand India takes at the meeting because in India’s absence at the last few ICC meetings, the voting majority has now undergone a giant shift.icc-logo

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which until recently was a vociferous supporter of India’s stand, too has left the table.

Once the ICC board approves the changes, the onus will then be on a final ratification of those changes at the annual conference of the ICC when it is held later in June. After former BCCI president Shashank Manohar took charge as the first independent chairman of the ICC, the board had directed that the governing body’s constitution be reviewed in its entirety with a view `to establishing governance, finance, corporate and cricketing structures that are appropriate and effective for the strategic role and function of the ICC and all of its members’.

From a financial perspective, what it effectively means is that member boards now find wisdom in pooling of overseas television rights revenue and restructuring of the Future Tours Programme (FTP) going forward. This comes after Manohar’s earlier plan of doing away with the Big-Three financial structure that allowed India, England and Australia to feed on 80% of the game’s global revenue by virtue of what they brought to the table.

Kapil Sibal, the senior counsel who represented BCCI’s two state associations in the Supreme Court on Friday , argued that Indian cricket could stand to lose out massively on revenue from the ICC should the latter introduce policy changes and should India fail to send an ‘experienced’ hand to the ICC. In doing so, Sibal questioned the wisdom in BCCI not being able to send a senior administrator to back its claim despite the possibility of a financial setback.

Technically, former ICC, BCCI and Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president Sharad Pawar is eligible to represent India at the ICC. In its last Annual General Meeting (AGM), the BCCI had appointed Shashank Manohar as India’s representative to the ICC and Pa war as the alternative director to attend in Manohar’s absence.

With Manohar quitting BCCI to head to the ICC, Pawar is the eligible representative considering there’s no Supreme Court rule yet that states BCCI cannot nominate an individual above 70 years of age at ICC meetings nor has the court said that an individual whose tenure is over cannot be sent.

Further, after Friday’s hearing, there are questions being asked on whether the FAQs listed by the Lodha Committee are still applicable.

Regardless of whether Pawar goes or BCCI sends another office-bearer or CEO Rahul Johri, sources say “the water has already flown under the bridge”.

Apropos of the February 4 meeting of the ICC, the question that needs to be answered now is: will the BCCI manage to put its own house in order by June when the above mentioned policy changes come up for a final ratification?

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