The Indian cricket board is feeling the pinch of an increasing subscription fee for Test playing countries. With a steady increase, the annual fee will touch $921,000 (Rs 37.33 million) for 2007-08.
Niranjan Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said he would raise the issue at the International Cricket Council's (ICC) chief executive committee (CEC) meeting in Dubai this month.
"The ICC subscription fee is too high. I will draw the attention of the ICC at the CEC meeting," Shah told IANS.
He said along with the BCCI, the boards of nine other Test-playing countries would also have to shell out the annual fee that the ICC has been raising steadily since 2005-06.
"In 2005-06, we paid $684,000 (Rs 27.72 million) and in 2006-07 it was $794,000 (Rs 32.18 million)," said the man who represents BCCI at the CEC meetings.
"In 2007-08, the fee is proposed to be hiked to $921,000 (Rs 37.33 million) and in 2008-09 it would be $900,000 (Rs 36.48 million)," he disclosed.
Shah will be conveying the BCCI's disenchantment with the ICC's alleged top- heavy administration.
He said that if the ICC trims down its top heavy administrative set-up the annual subscription fee for the Test nations would also come down considerably.
ICC today has 97 countries as its members, including 32 second-rung associate and 55 third-rung affiliate countries. The figure is set to touch 100 this month when new countries could be granted memberships.
BCCI feels that the ICC can administer the game globally without hiring people on exorbitant salaries.
Currently, the ICC has a 30-odd staff at its 11th floor headquarters in the Al Thuraya Tower in Dubai.
"As a governing body, the ICC is second to none. We are on a very strong basis to move the ICC to the next level as far as the governing of the sport is concerned," former ICC president Ehsan Mani had told IANS in an interview last year, just before handing over the reins to Percy Sonn, who died recently.
"When you compare (cricket) with any other sport, in terms of best practices, governance, transparency, we are there in every sense of the word," Mani had said.
But the BCCI is not convinced, and Shah recently hinted at a "no confidence motion" against the way the ICC is structured at present.
"The ICC has so many staff members. It is unnecessarily employing so many people and that costs the other members. The ICC should move away from the bureaucracy and become more simplified," Shah had told daily The Age of Melbourne this April.
"We are not that satisfied. It is becoming more and more bureaucratic. My board is of the belief that cricket is a simple, enjoyable game, but that is not how it appears at present," he had said.
The relations between the BCCI and the ICC have been far from cordial and the two bodies have clashed a few times in the last few years. But this could well be the first time that BCCI, the richest cricket board in the world, will raise the issue of subscription at a key ICC meeting.
It is pertinent to note that about 70 to 80 per cent of ICC's income from sponsors comes from India.
Most of these sponsors rely heavily on star Indian players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh to get mileage through tournaments organised by the ICC for which they pay handsome money.