Dalmiya ousted from ICC panel: report

LONDON, MAY 7. The International Cricket Council (ICC) president, Mr. Jagmohan Dalmiya, has been ``unceremoniously ousted'' from the key finance committee of the sport's governing body which is currently negotiating the sale of television rights for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa and the 2007 event in the West Indies.

The decision was taken during the ICC's two-day emergency meeting, held at Lord's last week to discuss what action should be taken over the raging match-fixing allegations which have thrown the game into crisis over the last month, the Sunday Telegraph reported today.

The extra-ordinary action was taken on the second day of the deliberations when Mr. Dalmiya chaired the highly influential finance and marketing committee being the president of ICC.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief, Lord Ian MacLaurin, and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) boss, Sir John Anderson, proposed at the meeting that the ICC president should not ``now or in future take part in any financial negotiations on behalf of the board'' and it was unanimously agreed to, the newspaper said.

Another delegate, who did not wish to be named, confirmed that after a discussion it was proposed that the president should not take part in any financial negotiations in future. ``Nobody disagreed,'' he said.

After the Lord's meeting Mr. Dalmiya did go to Paris - the venue of the finance committee meeting. This was a concession by the emergency meeting which allowed him to be on hand in consultative capacity while not attending the negotiations, the report said.

The remaining four members of the finance and marketing committee - Mr. Ehsan Mani of Pakistan, Mr. Ray White, former South African board president, Mr. Pat Rousseau, president of the West Indian board, and the ICC chief executive, Mr. David Richards - were finalising the details of the biggest deal ever known in cricket: the broadcasting and Internet rights for the next two World Cups, for which the bidding has already topped $500 million.

According to the report three bids have been shortlisted and the ICC committee is understood to be split between the two highest bids. Their recommendations will be presented to the executive board at the ICC's annual general meeting next month - one of the last acts of Mr. Dalmiya's presidency.

The decision to link together the bids for the next two World Cups has itself been a controversial and unique one. In all previous World Cups since the tournement's inception in 1975, the broadcasting deals have been negotiated for one at a time.

Moreover, the host authority has conducted these negotiations not ICC, until now.

Dalmiya denies report

Meanwhile, in a statement issued from his office in Calcutta, Mr. Dalmiya categorically denied he had been ousted from the ICC finance committee.

Describing such reports as ``totally untrue and motivated,'' he said ``there was no such decision'' at the ICC's two-day emergency executive board meeting at Lord's.