Is the Shashank Manohar formula which deprives BCCI and India of a substantial chunk of ICC revenue in trouble? The ICC meeting scheduled to be held in Dubai on Wednesday and Thursday would probably bury it, barring unforeseen backroom deals.
The ICC revenue sharing model worked out in 2014 by N Srinivasan for the period 2015 to 2023 would have ensured that India got 570 million dollars (figures being toted vary between 470 and 579 million dollars) of the 2.5 billion dollars.
But Manohar who replaced Srinivasan as BCCI representative in the ICC and was later elected independent chairman, for some strange reason decided to cut India to size and worked out a new formula whereby India’s share would be a mere 290 million dollars. He ensured that other countries stood to gain by the new formula.
Australia, one of the Srinivasan-envisaged ‘big three’ nations did not gain or lose any money in Manohar’s scheme of things while the other ‘big’, England, had its share reduced by a mere 25 million dollars.
Manohar’s formula, which he articulated before the ICC elections, helped get him get elected unopposed. The countries who stood to gain by the new formula obviously loved it and also the man who would help shower those valuable dollars on them.
But the BCCI was peeved without doubt. And why wouldn’t they be? Even the Committee of Administrators’ member Vikram Limaye who attended one of the ICC meetings said there was “no scientific basis behind the percentage distribution allocation that was being proposed other than good faith and equity.”
One official pointed out that the worst aspect of the rejig was that there was no place for India either in the all powerful ICC Executive Committee or Finance Committee.
“How is this just and honourable? It is a deliberate insult to India and an insidious strategy to grab its share of resources. The BCCI is the most powerful board in cricket and India contributes 70 per cent of the revenue. What is the logic in keeping it out other than chicanery?”
He said that the BCCI does not trust Manohar. The entire rejig was not just about money but also to ensure that India lost control over ICC and cricket. India were supposed to be a permanent member of these two committees but were “brusquely removed for ulterior reasons.” He pointed out that India were not invited to ICC committee meetings in Australia and Dubai in a further attempt to marginalise it.
Luckily the COA also voiced their disapproval of Manohar’s formula and during the course of the winter the latter quit as chairman of ICC for “personal reasons”. By then it was believed that BCCI would receive support from some permanent members to thwart his formula. In fact the BCCI needs to swing just two of the 10 permanent members to its side to spike the revamp.
Alarmed members of ICC who needed Manohar there to “guide ICC” when it cut BCCI to size, coaxed him to take back his resignation till the next election.
Manohar, in a desperate move to make peace with BCCI before the meeting, offered it another “100 million dollars.” The BCCI were not exactly amused by this attempt at bargaining. “It is not his to give. The ICC is a member-driven body and the members have to take a decision, not Manohar,” reports quoted BCCI sources.
Another spoke of trust deficit with Manohar and said that any decision would have to be taken only after his exit from ICC.
BCCI is confident that some member countries would support India. “One of the offers made is that we will protect the quantum of money promised by Manohar formula, not the percentage.
“Even otherwise, if BCCI does not co-operate in bilateral series the other country would be doomed. Their television and sponsorship contracts would disappear or be inconsequential. Why would any TV channel enter into a contract if they were aware that India would not take part? Ditto with sponsors. So it is in those countries interest not to antagonize India.”
Additionally, to make a point, India have shown their disapproval of the ganging up by ignoring ICC’s 25 April deadline to announce their Champions Trophy squad. This should set even England thinking. If India do not send a team the event would be a financial disaster, the television and sponsorship rights belonging to ICC notwithstanding.
Thus the Dubai ICC meeting over the next two days goes beyond mere revenue sharing. It could have a lot of repercussions which would affect cricket worldwide. Naturally all eyes would be on it even during this hectic season of IPL.