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'Small 4' against ICC revamp

28 January 2014, 16:54

Islamabad - Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are likely to oppose sweeping changes in the ICC as the governing body's executive board meeting began in Dubai on Tuesday.

VIDEO: Jonty Rhodes on the ICC's 'Big 3' proposal

Before attending the meeting, Pakistan Cricket Board chairperson Zaka Ashraf told private television channels in Pakistan that all the four boards "have one stance and we will stick to our stance."

The three richest cricket boards of India, England and Australia have drafted a radical "position paper" in an apparent bid to get more powers in all the administrative and financial matters of the ICC.

"I will vote for Pakistan and whatever is in Pakistan's interests," Ashraf told Geo Television.

"We have to see what is in our interests when we vote. Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka, we all have one stance.

"Four of us have the same stance. Let's see what we vote inside. We will stick to our stance."

The draft has been widely criticised by former Test cricketers and ICC officials Ehsan Mani, Malcolm Gray and Malcom Speed.

South Africa was the first to country to openly criticise the paper citing the Big Three - Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket Board, for not following the correct procedure of consultation within the ICC.

Cricket South Africa last week termed the proposals as "fundamentally flawed."

Last week, Paul Marsh, head of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, which combines the player associations of seven of the International Cricket Council's 10 full members, termed the proposals as "disturbing," saying they will broaden disparities between cricket's "rich and poor."

In case the “Big Three” get a stiff opposition in Tuesday's meeting, there are chances that the draft could not be tabled for consideration because to get any special resolution passed it would require the backing of eight out of the full 10 members.

According to an article of the ICC constitution "Resolution proposed at Conference or at a Special Meeting shall be deemed to have been carried as a Special Resolution only if not less than three-quarters of the aggregate number of votes exercisable by all the Full Members shall have been cast in favour of the Resolution, irrespective of whether or not all of the Full Members shall have actually been present in person or by proxy."

Officials from the BCCI, ECB and CA reportedly first presented the document to other countries at a meeting this month, with ICC officials even having limited knowledge of the proposals.

The proposed reforms would likely see the revision or abandonment of the Future Tours Program which guarantees smaller nations regular series' against the big three sides.

A 21-page document from the ICC's influential financial and commercial affairs committee, which hasn't gone down well with the four opposing full members, proposes that a new four-member executive committee be set up, with three of the places taken by the rich and powerful India, England and Australia boards. They will decide on the fourth member.

The "Position Paper" also recommends the troubled Test Championship which was set for introduction in 2017 be scrapped and the limited-overs Champions Trophy be retained in its place.

Apparently the four opposing members are also not in favour of promotion-relegation system, as suggested in the proposed draft. That would establish a reduced eight-country top tier for test cricket from 2015, but with India, England and Australia, the so-called big three, immune from relegation because of "the importance of those markets and teams to prospective ICC media rights buyers."

The overall angle of the document is that cricket, especially Test cricket, is often not financially viable outside of the big three countries.

Instead of the Test Championship, the two lowest-ranked of the 10 Test-playing nations - currently Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, would be relegated from the format next year and have to fight their way back up to the top division through the four-day Intercontinental Cup and then a playoff. If a relegated nation doesn't win back its place in the top tier on the first attempt, it would lose money from the ICC.

The proposals do offer associate members Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands and Scotland a chance to play Tests through promotion, and a Test cricket fund would give money to Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies.

- AP

Tags csa cricket

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