What is the lowdown on ICC-BCCI row over revenues

BCCI has not accepted the ICC’s changes and has decided to invoke its rights specified in the MPA.

Updated - May 07, 2017 12:15 pm IST

Published - May 06, 2017 08:28 pm IST

What is it?

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is engaged in a bitter row with the International Cricket Council (ICC) over its decision to reverse the revamp of the world cricket body’s administrative structure and finances, especially distribution of gross revenue for the 2016-2023 fiscal. The revamp was adopted by a resolution in 2014. But this April 26, at its board meeting in Dubai, the BCCI was out-voted as the ICC adopted new governance and revenue structures.

The ICC offered the BCCI $293 million in the new revenue-sharing model, and an additional $100 million as a goodwill gesture because India contributes around 70% to ICC coffers, but the BCCI has declined the offer. The next ICC meeting is in June in London when the 105-member general body will consider the changes. The BCCI had laid claim to $610 million for the 2016-23 period, which the ICC Board shot down.

How did it come about?

In February 2014, the BCCI, represented then by N. Srinivasan, managed to get England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia’s tacit support to push through a resolution that would allow the ‘Big 3’ of cricket to control two important committees (Executive and Finance and Commercial Affairs) and pocket a significant portion of revenues. The BCCI would have received 20.3% of the projected ICC gross revenue, the ECB 4.4 % and CA 2.7% and the other seven nations would have shared the balance from a total of 32% earmarked, strangely as an expense of gross receipts, and not after all other expenses were paid for.

It was when Shashank Manohar — now ICC Chairman — became BCCI president in 2015 that the need to revisit the model was raised. Before that the ICC had conveniently ignored Lord Woolf’s recommendations that the small nations shouldn’t feel subjugated by the bigger nations. Mr. Manohar said the revamp of the ICC in 2014 was “unethical, unfair” and the ICC’s administrative structure and revenue models should be reworked.

After Mr. Manohar resigned as BCCI president and became the ICC’s first independent chairman in May 2016, a majority of the ICC Board members wrote to him, arguing that the constitution and finance models needed to be changed.

While the ICC revamp was approved at its annual conference in June 2014, the ICC awarded the eight-year (2016-2023) audio-visual rights to Star India and Star Middle East (Middle East and Africa) for an estimated $2 billion. And from the projected gross revenue of $2.7 billion, the BCCI share was supposed to be 20.3% (approximately $548 million). It would also get an additional $62 million, the equal share given to all ten member boards for the previous eight-year cycle (2007-15).

On February 19 last year, Mr. Manohar explained to the BCCI at a special general meeting that the BCCI would have to take a $150-million cut in revenues in order to help smaller nations, and it seemed at that time that the BCCI had agreed to his suggestion.

Why does it matter?

After the Supreme Court, by its order of January 2, 2017, removed Anurag Thakur as BCCI president, full members loyal to Mr. Srinivasan looked up to him to play the leadership role. Mr. Srinivasan impressed upon them the need to fight tooth and nail with the ICC to revert to the 2014 model.

The ICC put its foot down. It said the full members could receive their share only after expenses are paid for out of the projected revenue of $2.7 billion. In this revenue-sharing model, the BCCI’s share worked out to $293 million after setting aside $900 million for production and other costs and $117 million towards contingency fund and reserves.

What next?

The BCCI has not accepted the ICC’s changes and has decided to invoke its rights specified in the Members Participation Agreement (MPA), which states that the BCCI can terminate the MPA if the ICC makes material changes in the resolution of 2014; revoking the MPA would result in India’s absence from all ICC competitions for juniors, men and women till the ICC World Cup in 2023, starting from Champions Trophy in June in England.

However, the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) on Thursday asked the BCCI to select the team for the eight-nation tournament.

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