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ICC Champions Trophy: Administrators slam BCCI’s negative, combative approach

The Supreme Court-appointed administrators are not amused at BCCI’s threat to skip the ICC Champions Trophy due to financial issues with the world body

cricket Updated: May 04, 2017 16:32 IST
HT Correspondent
Virat Kohli, captain of India, Vinod Rai, chairman of the Committee of Administrators, during the unveiling of a stamp to commemorate India vs Australia Test series in Pune on February 23, 2017. CoA has asked the BCCI to pick the Indian cricket team for the ICC Champions Trophy earliest.
Virat Kohli, captain of India, Vinod Rai, chairman of the Committee of Administrators, during the unveiling of a stamp to commemorate India vs Australia Test series in Pune on February 23, 2017. CoA has asked the BCCI to pick the Indian cricket team for the ICC Champions Trophy earliest.(BCCI)

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators has rebuked the Board of Control for Cricket in India officials for delaying the naming of the Indian cricket team for next month’s ICC Champions Trophy in UK.

In a strongly-worded letter to acting BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary on Thursday, the CoA, led by former auditor general of India Vinod Rai, took exception to the Board’s stance to use the players as pawns in their revenue-share battle with the ICC bosses.

“The BCCI appears to have lost sight of the fact that it attained a pre-eminent position in the ICC not by a combative approach but by building consensus and ensuring a positive image including by helping other cricket boards in their time of need,” the CoA said in its letter.

India, led by MS Dhoni, had won the ICC Champions Trophy in UK in 2013. India beat hosts England in a rain-hit final at Edgbaston. India start their 2017 ICC Champions Trophy campaign against Pakistan in Birmingham on June 4.

This file photo taken on February 14, 2016 shows India's 2016 cricket team posing with the Champions Trophy during the third T20 international match between India and Sri Lanka in Visakhapatnam. India have kept the announcement of their ICC Champions Trophy squad on hold after BCCI was out-voted on the new governance and revenue structure at the ICC board meeting in Dubai. The BCCI has already missed the April 25, 2017 deadline in naming the squad for the eight-nation event starting June 1 in England and Wales. (AFP)

“There has been more than enough negativity surrounding Team India’s participation in the ICC Champions Trophy and the sooner the same is put to rest the better. The players’ interests are paramount and they must be given the best chance to prepare for, defend and retain the ICC Champions Trophy,” the administrators said.

According to the ICC’s revised financial model based on equity and good conscience, BCCI will receive $293 million across the eight year cycle, England $143m, Zimbabwe $94m and the remaining seven Full Members $132m each. Associate Members will receive funding of $280m. This model was passed 13 votes to one.

Unhappy with this model, India threatened to withdraw from the ICC Champions Trophy as a mark of protest. The CoA has rejected such an approach from the BCCI. India also failed to name their squad by April 25.

Following is the full text of the letter written to the BCCI, which has convened a Special General Meeting on May 7 to chalk out its action plan against ICC on the revenue share model.

“Dear Mr. Choudhary,

1. You have already called for a Special General Meeting on 7th May 2017 (“SGM”) to conduct the following business:

“To apprise the General Body of the BCCI on the discussions held with representatives of other Member Boards of the ICC and on the decisions taken at the ICC Meetings held on the 24th of April, 2017 and the 26th of April, 2017 and to take all necessary decisions pursuant thereto.”

2. In the above circumstances, there is no reason why any notice should be issued to the ICC before the members of BCCI have had the opportunity to discuss the matter and take a well-considered decision as mentioned in our email dated 3rd May 2017. We do not believe that BCCI’s legal rights will be prejudiced in any manner if a notice is not issued to the ICC prior to the SGM. A decision of such magnitude needs to be taken after following due process and the correct forum for that is the SGM. The Committee of Administrators will consider the matter of issuing a notice to the ICC only after the SGM takes a decision.

3. As mentioned in our email dated 3rd May 2017, the Committee of Administrators will extend all possible cooperation and support to any decision taken at the SGM which protects the interests of Indian cricket as a whole but will be duty bound to approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court and take other necessary steps in the event the decision(s) taken at the SGM is/ are, in our view, against the interests of Indian cricket.

4. We believe that the BCCI has not yet given the possibility of a negotiated outcome a fair chance. As communicated to you during our meeting on 21st April 2017, the resolutions passed during the Special General Meeting on 18th April 2017 did not give you any flexibility to negotiate with the ICC and other cricket boards. We also believe that it is in the interests of Indian cricket that the possibility of a negotiated outcome be fully and constructively pursued before the BCCI takes any irreversible step/ measure. Our discussions with the ICC and other cricket boards have revealed a trust deficit that the BCCI needs to do its part to address. At the same time, the ICC and other cricket boards have, during the said discussions, also expressed willingness to find common ground with the BCCI. The General Body of the BCCI has itself recognized the need to adopt a collaborative/ non-confrontational approach with the ICC and other cricket boards during the Special General Meeting held on 19th February 2016.

5. In the meantime, it would be appropriate to make all necessary preparations for ensuring that Team India can successfully defend its title in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 which commences on 1st June 2017. You are aware that the squad representing India at the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 was to be submitted by 25th April 2017 but the squad has not even been selected as yet. Please convene a meeting of the selection committee for selecting the squad immediately. The squad can then be submitted to the ICC without prejudice to BCCI’s legal rights.

6. We believe that any decision taken at the SGM should be predicated on the fact that India has the best team in the world today. Team India should be provided with a supportive environment to showcase Indian cricket instead of being surrounded with uncertainty and confusion. There has been more than enough negativity surrounding Team India’s participation in the ICC Champions Trophy and the sooner the same is put to rest the better. The players’ interests are paramount and they must be given the best chance to prepare for, defend and retain the ICC Champions Trophy. The focus should be on enabling our team to achieve even greater heights and further laurels, which will automatically attract higher revenues. The BCCI appears to have lost sight of the fact that it attained a pre-eminent position in the ICC not by a combative approach but by building consensus and ensuring a positive image including by helping other cricket boards in their time of need.

7. As your email mentions that a majority of the Members of BCCI have urged you to send a notice to the ICC, we are also copying the Members on this email to communicate our views to them.

Yours faithfully,

The Supreme Court Appointed Committee of Administrators