COA demanding that BCCI negotiate with ICC nations which stabbed them in back is shocking

If the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) is not drawing a salary, it’s time they gave themselves one and then went about earning it. With power comes responsibility and the fact that it is under their watch that Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) painstakingly constructed revenue gains is going up in smoke is a grim reality they have to remedy. Sending tweets and making statements that are detrimental to the interests of Indian cricket is simply not the way to go and betrays a callousness that is tough to stomach.

Vinod Rai (right), Diana Edulji (left) and Vikram Limaye, who are a part of the SC-appointed panel of administrators. AFP

Vinod Rai (right), Diana Edulji (left) and Vikram Limaye, who are a part of the SC-appointed panel of administrators. AFP

The first thing that should have struck this COA as odd is why a working group formed by International Cricket Council (ICC) to go through the 2014 agreement did not have India in it. All those countries who stood to gain by a re-worked agreement were in the working group while India who would lose most in the new equation were kept out. Shouldn’t red flags have gone up at what seemed a deliberately manipulative manoeuvre?

Another fact which should have set off alarm bells was when the $100 million offer was made by the ICC Chairman. Why was he making this offer? Was it as acceptance that India had not got a fair share in the re-worked strategy or was it an effort to buy India’s approval for the new formula?

By the way, BCCI’s share of the $2.5 billion projected revenue, even if it was $570 million, was less per capita than that offered to the West Indies or Sri Lanka. Further, if the revenue was $2.7 billion, BCCI’s share would have to be $610 million, according to the 2014 agreement.

The $100 million offer was never tabled as a resolution at the meeting. And this makes the intentions suspect. Nor was it stated if the additional money was for the $2.5 billion or $2.7 billion revenue. If it was for the latter, then the loss to BCCI would have been more than 35 per cent! Certainly considering these vast sums of money that Indian cricket stands to lose it would be better for the COA to take a salary, concentrate exclusively on the job and do everything to protect India’s share of the revenue.

It may be recalled that COA member Vikram Limaye attended the February ICC meeting within a week of the COA being appointed by the Supreme Court and there sought time to study the proposal. Yet the ICC website showed him as being one of the ICC directors. Strange, considering that he was reportedly nominated for only the February meeting.

Still, presuming he or Vinod Rai would have met the other cricket board representatives and Shashank Manohar, it would be in the best tradition of transparency to tell this nation of cricket lovers what transpired in those meetings and the course of the discussion. The minutes of the meeting with the other boards and ICC officials, including the chairman could be put on the BCCI website.

Hopefully the COA have kept BCCI members in the loop. The latter would know to what extend to trust the ICC members and its chairman who was also the BCCI president not so long ago.

The COA should also reveal why they supported the resolution asking Manohar to continue, particularly when it was clear that with him at the helm India stood to lose. Additionally, grapevine has it that Manohar repeatedly told members that India did not have the guts to pull out of the Champions Trophy. Even if that was to be discounted, COA should still make clear the arguments for supporting him to continue as chairman.

The COA’s stand that it is in the interests of Indian cricket for BCCI to continue negotiations with ICC and other cricket boards to arrive at an amount that is somewhere between the 2014 financial model and the revised financial model is shocking. Why would they ask BCCI to deprive itself of revenue? At the same time why should they expect BCCI to reward parties that broke the agreement and stabbed them in the back?

On the other hand, those violating the agreement should be brought to book, not rewarded.

The COA's belief that it was not in the interests of Indian cricket for the BCCI to take any drastic step which may result in breakdown of negotiations between the BCCI, ICC and other cricket boards, especially since there is sufficient time between now and the ICC Conference to be held in June 2017 for a negotiated outcome to be arrived at, is also wrong.

Negotiations thus far have failed. The ICC and its member nations have shown that their intention is to squeeze money out of India. Surely the COA must be aware that Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have just four first class teams apiece and that Sri Lanka’s first class cricket is actually inter-club matches, like the ones played in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai.

On the other hand, India has 707 districts and despite hectic efforts less than 1/10th of them have worthwhile cricketing facilities. India need every rupee to drive the game to the far nooks and corners of the country. BCCI’s infrastructure drive has seen the game spread over the last decade or so. But so much more needs to be done.

If the COA want to administer cricket and promote the interests of Indian cricket they should start travelling to districts and see not the progress but the future of these kids that they would be giving away by being soft on ICC and other agreements reneging countries.

Updated Date: May 06, 2017 13:34 PM

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