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Heavyweights join cricket fight

Martin Crowe. Photo /Getty
Martin Crowe. Photo /Getty

The fight back is underway in the battle to own cricket.

With the International Cricket Council board meeting today and tomorrow, a host of the game's political and playing heavyweights have endorsed the cause to prevent the game being controlled predominantly through the India, Australian and England and Wales boards.

Opposition has been forthcoming in waves. New Zealand cricketing great Martin Crowe and the architect of the Future Tours Programme and former New Zealand Cricket chairman Sir John Anderson are the latest to join the fray.

The lead came from former ICC president Ehsan Mani of Pakistan.

He wrote a letter to the ICC requesting the ICC's finance & commercial affairs committee's recent position paper regarding commercial rights be withdrawn.

It is undersigned by former ICC president Malcolm Gray, former ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed and former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd among others.

Mani's letter stated:

"The Three Boards have completely undermined the integrity and standing of the ICC, its President and the Board of Directors in promoting their own agenda without due and proper discussion by the Board. Clearly, the right standard of Boardroom behaviour is not seen to be in place.

"BCCI, ECB and CA say in the Paper that they will provide greater leadership and stability to the ICC and its Members. In return they ask the Members to hand over powers of the ICC Board to them. They do not demonstrate how they will do this in any meaningful way. They do, however, plan to make significant financial gains for themselves and completely control the workings of the ICC to the exclusion of the other members."

Anderson, in a letter to Mani, added: "I fully support your memorandum on this proposal.

"The current Governance process and income distribution is based on the objective for ICC to materially develop and grow world cricket. This was the objective of the MCC and the English Cricket Board - who both shared this mission in the preceding 80 years.

"The Future Tours Programme was an integral part in raising the standard of test cricket as well as expanding the number of test cricket nations.

"The proposal will probably create a division in the test playing nations which will undermine all test playing nations' revenues as test cricket will have no context. It will also have a material effect on the development programme for associate and affiliate members."

Crowe passed on his sentiments to New Zealander Alan Isaac, the current ICC president.
"I endorse wholeheartedly the letter by Mr Ehsan Mani to the ICC regards their position paper," he wrote.

Mani's letter includes an appendix calculating the proposed revenue sharing of the ICC's draft finance and governance proposal.

Based on gross revenues of US$2.5 billion (NZ$3.04b) for the period 2015-2023, NZC's forecast revenue is US$75.5 million.

At present revenue is distributed equally among the 10 full member nations meaning NZC revenue would be US$117.5 million under the existing arrangement. The new proposal would make for a difference of US$42 million (NZ$51 million).

Under the new proposal, India would receive US$568 million, England US$173 million and Australia US$130.5 million.

"A point that also needs to be addressed is: why does BCCI need more money at the expense of other countries?" Mani wrote. "The domestic and international media fees that BCCI receives from playing with other members are massive and underpin BCCI's financial position. It is the richest cricket board in the world."

NZC chief executive David White and board member Martin Snedden are attending the Dubai meeting on behalf of New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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