Monday, April 22, 2024

Cricket harking back to the colonial days


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WITH MAJOR SPORTING ORGANISATIONS, money plays an important role in attracting good players and making the particular sport a truly global enterprise – as is the case, for example, with athletics and football.
Cricket, once known as the sport of gentlemen, is making moves to bring about a restructuring in its operations that could result in a two-tier system and would give a significant boost to the finances of the boards outside India, Australia and England (“the big three”).
Moves to restructure the International Cricket Council (ICC) to hand power to the big three, the game’s financial powerhouses, were passed in principle during a board meeting last week Tuesday in Dubai. In addition, ICC events for the period 2015 to 2023 will be held only in India, England and Australia.
A 21-page document from the ICC’s influential financial and commercial affairs committee hasn’t gone down well with the four opposing full members. It proposes that a new four-member executive committee be set up, with three of the places to be taken by the big three boards, which will decide on the fourth member.
In addition, the document provides that “resolution proposed at conference or at a special meeting shall be deemed to have been carried as a special resolution only if not less than three-quarters of the aggregate number of votes exercisable by all the full members shall have been cast in favour of the resolution” whether present in person or by proxy.
This clearly indicates that the big three will rule the roost. Whether this will signal the end or break-up of cricket administration as we know it will depend largely on the global growth and development of cricket in Third World countries.
It was reported that the document was first presented to the other countries at a meeting last month, with ICC officials even having limited knowledge of the new proposals and very little time to examine the issues or to discuss them among their boards. Debate will resume again very soon.
This is not equitable or fair but “money makes the mare go”. However, a growing number of respected former cricket chiefs have expressed their alarm at such moves, which would also include a two-tier Test league with Australia, India and England being protected from relegation owing to their financial weight.
A lot of money is being raised in the Indian subcontinent and if they really wanted to help in the development of cricket, India should insist that the ICC should be organised along the lines of the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), where funds should be allocated to different regions to develop cricket.
The ICC discussed the controversial plan, which has been drafted because of an apparent threat by India to withdraw from major global events unless there is radical reform of the ICC, in Dubai last week Tuesday and Wednesday.
It is indeed sad that the power of money could be used in such naked fashion, but the ICC proposals hark back to the days of colonialism and should be withdrawn to give greater democracy to cricket administration.


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