BCCI May Seeks India Champions Trophy Pullout, Routed ICC Voting

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After the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) was left isolated in its opposition to the proposed reforms to the way the game is run globally, the chances of India pulling out of this year’s Champions Trophy has been increased. In the vote of all member boards of the International Cricket (ICC), the BCCI was routed 1-9 on a revamped financial model and 2-8 on a new governance model. It undoubtedly shows that ICC votes discarded the Big Three structures that gave India special status and would make it as just another member board of the game’s parent body.

As per the financial model that was passed, the BCCI’s share of revenue from 2015 to 2023 would be only $290 million, which is hardly half of the $570 million the Indian board sought after.     Now, the old watchers believe that the only option is to invoke the Members Participation Agreement (MPA) and pull out of the international cricket bilateral cycle or to fall in line with new world order. The Independent ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar, who’s pushing cricket administration reforms, had offered, to begin with, a compromise formula of an additional $100 million, which will take the BCCI’s share to almost $400 million.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rejected this offer with a counter offer in which it would still get it’s $570 million but no other full member’s share would be reduced. On the other hand, Manohar called for a vote on the $290 million offer, but not on the formula that was being talked about, and it effects as BCCI hurtful of a lonely figure. The Indian Cricket Board hasn’t announced its team for the ICC Champions Trophy yet and the deadline is also to be passing by on April 25. Now, the state units that form the old guard at the BCCI have decided now to call for a special meeting as soon as possible, a 14-day notice has to be given to take a call on India’s next move.

The Chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) Vino Rai, which is running the BCCI, said he was disappointed and he would allow BCCI members to take a call on their next step. “We’d kept the CoA meeting after the BCCI SGM in Mumbai before the ICC meeting in Dubai. Amitabh Choudhary had attended that meeting while BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary refused to come. I asked Amitabh about the mandate given to him by the SGM and he told us that he has to assess the situation,” Rai told Times of India (TOI). “Until yesterday, the idea of pulling out of the Champions Trophy wasn’t such a realistic one. But 24 hours is a long time. Going by what happened today, the ICC has cleared and abrasively breached the contract that it has signed with the BCCI, which is the MPA,” said a senior cricket administrator. He also said that, let’s don’t play this tournament as a protest. “Let India not play this tournament as a protest and then let’s see how many ICC members still like the idea of going ahead with the policy changes. Someone has to call their bluff,” he added.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court’s January 30 order clearly says that the authority to proceed legally in matters involving BCCI rests with CoA, which has also been decided by the court itself. They will only be able to take a position on anything when the state units of the BCCI and CoA will be seeing it the same way. A senior cricket Administrator said to TOI that the ball is now in Vinod Rai’s court. “The ball is in the court of Vinod Rai. He’s the man who drew the attention to the massive loss that the country suffered because of the 2G Spectrum scam. He knows his numbers. He will be the first one to know what kind of a hand a ‘weakened’ BCCI has been dealt with,” he said to TOI. There’s another big issue for the BCCI and that is the CoA is managing the BCCI only for a temporary period and will not have to present with the decisions taken right now. “For starters, we’re hoping that Vinod Rai and his colleagues will also attend the SGM and hear everyone out. That’ll at least lead to some bit of clarity,” said an official. The officials of BCCI claimed that Manohar who’s a former BCCI chief had shown “absolute disregard for a legal document” signed between the BCCI and ICC.

A prominent stakeholder in global cricket said, “It’s a decisive day and it’ll always be remembered in history as the moment when BCCI either changed the course of global cricket forever or fell in line with what was dictated to them. India will have to live with the decision, it takes going forward.” The BCCI’s acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary had attended the ICC’s board meeting on the behalf of India. According to the TOI’s April 3 report, the only option available for BCCI is if the ICC went ahead with policy reforms in spite of India’s disobedience, then the MPA would be invoked and moves out of the bilateral cycle. The BCCI’s state units are yet to take a call upon “predictable” at the SGM, although the date is not finalized. There’s also another view of this story and that’s if BCCI officials must decide at the forthcoming SGM that India needs to pull out of the Champions Trophy, then it could lead to larger impacts in terms of financial losses and much more, for example, the ICC could respond in return by asking other nations to skip bilateral series with India or avoid making players available for the IPL.

The sources revealed TOI that before the Dubai meeting, the Test-playing countries had agreed on the figure of $445 million as the BCCI’s share after Rai met all the members of the ICC Board. But the figure was calculated was deducting the money BCCI would be spending on the conduct of matches like 125$ million after getting a share of $570. But the BCCI officer bearers were not changing their stand on seeking $570 as the gross amount, which wasn’t adequate for any of the full members. The decision of BCCI would be made known to everyone very soon.

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