Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ICC Big 3: Will Australia, England and India Doom Cricket?

Australia, England and India, the three biggest revenue producing nations in the world of cricket, are seeking to remodel International Cricket Council (ICC) along the lines of the UN Security Council. They are making a naked bid to get more money and power for themselves at the expense of the cricket boards of the rest of the ICC member nations including Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.

The "Big 3" Proposal:

The proposals, written by the ICC's Finance, Commercial Affairs (FCA) committee and leaked to the media last week, calls for the formation of a four-person executive committee, on which the representative of boards of Australia, England and India would be guaranteed a seat. Only one representative from the rest of the cricketing nations combined would be selected by the three boards annually.

Would this proposal, if adopted as is, strengthen the sport of cricket? Or would it spell doom for it? Its proponents argue that the new structure would improve governance of world cricket. Cricket Australia Chairman Wally Edwards said " its approach internationally is consistent with its approach at home where we have made significant strides improving the governance of Australian cricket".

The Debate on "Big 3":

Opponents such as former Indian Premier League boss Lali Modi call it "a nail in the coffin for world game". Here are some excepts of what Modi told Hindustan Times:

“It’s a cartel, an unholy trinity and it threatens the future of the game. I’m serious. How can it possibly be good for the other Test playing nations and the associate members that these three line their own pockets. It is a scandal and it must be stopped. “They are going to kill cricket with these proposals. Great, India and England and Australia can play themselves to their heart’s content but they have put every other nation on the bread line.”

“They are saying they should have the power because they can bring greater stability but they don’t explain how they are going to do it. This is cloak and dagger stuff. Where’s the transparency? And then they say that each member will be given revenue share in line with the growth of the ICC. They are just lining their pockets".

 “You can read it yourself. It is clear in black and white. Section one, page three, point E and I’ll quote it ‘Ensuring a fair distribution of revenues, recognizing the contribution of each member to the ICC both on and off the field’. The key word there is ‘contribution’. Well, of course Indian ‘contribute’ more in terms of money than Zimbabwe. But this is totalitarian. This is about the rich getting richer and screw the rest".

“Again, a little further down. Same section, same page but point f. ‘The need to streamline bilateral cricket arrangements and ensure the on-going relevance of all these matches to ICC events and the viability of cricket in all relevant markets’. Look, we all know what streamline means in this context. It’s reducing or getting rid all together.”

Successful NFL Model:

The world's most successful sports franchise today is the National Football League (NFL) in the United States. It treats all of its 32 member teams equally with equal vote in decision making. Over 70% of its revenue is shared equally among its member teams.

NFL has a highly lucrative business because of the extraordinary popularity of football in the United States. Over nine years, starting in 2014, CBS, Fox and NBC will together will pay an average of about $3 billion a year, more than 50 percent higher than their prior deals, according to a report in New York Times. Altogether, the four networks, in addition to DirecTV, which pays $1 billion a year for its Sunday Ticket satellite package, will pay the N.F.L. more annually in TV rights than any sports league has ever been paid.

Economics of Sports:

Simon Rottenberg, an economist at University of Chicago, published what is considered as the first significant paper on the subject of the economics of sport, "The Baseball Players' Labor Market" in 1956. He stressed the importance to sporting competition of uncertainty of outcome and distribution of talent: "The nature of the industry is such that competitors must be of approximately equal ‘size’ if any are to be successful; this seems to be a unique attribute of professional competitive sports." This ‘invariance principle’ was because a league in which the strong simply soaked up all the talent would defeat itself.


The naked power grab by cricket boards of Australia, England and India is indeed an "Unholy Trinity". It defies the basic economics of sports as described by University of Chicago economist Simon Rottenberg. It results in unequal competition by weakening the majority of the national cricket teams by starving them of needed revenues to train, promote and reward the best and the brightest players.  It will badly hurt international cricket. PCB and other cricket boards should strongly oppose it.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Cricket Needs World Class Batting Coach and Top Sports Psychologist

US NFL Team Owner Shahid Khan

Top Ten Sledges in Cricket

Pakistan Breaks Australia's 34-Match Winning Streak

Wikileaks on India's Hawkish Policy on Pakistan

Obama on Cricket

Case For Resuming India-Pakistan Peace Talks

Pakistan Punish Aussie 2-0 in T20 Series

Afridi's Leadership

Pakistan In, India Out of T20 Semis

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Farrukh said...

Instead of ICC they should call themselves the vowel league. Only the countries that play cricket and whose name starts with a vowel would be able to join it. Not otherwise. :-)

Anonymous said...

India generates nearly 70% of cricket revenue and is in affect subsidizing other countries. So what India is asking for is fair.

May I remind you that for long Eng and Aus had veto powers and at that time Pakis had no issues with it. Wonder what changed now. Aha, inclusion of arch rival (rival only in their own mind) India.

If Pakistan does not like this, there are more than welcome to stop playing cricket.

Canadin Boy said...

"Failed State" Pakistan has been ranked second in the world in terms of business growth in a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
The current survey – which examined records of 9,371 Japanese firms operating across the world – put Pakistan just behind Taiwan in terms of business generated; leaving behind both "Super Power" India and G8 nation Japan. JETRO has been conducting such surveys since 2013

Anonymous said...

CB: "The current survey – which examined records of 9,371 Japanese firms operating across the world – put Pakistan just behind Taiwan in terms of business generated; leaving behind both "Super Power" India and G8 nation Japan. JETRO has been conducting such surveys since 2013"

It's titled "Survey of Japanese-Affiliated Companies in Asia and Oceania"
(FY 2013 Survey)

Link to JETRO Survey...see page 7


Canadian Boy said...

To: Anonymous
Your point being?
Mulitnational corporations generating more profits in a 'failed state 'then in a 'super power'. Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

The Pakistan Cricket Board was paid around USD 58 to 60 millions as its share of the International Cricket Council (ICC) events held in the present cycle of eight years, which ends in 2014. (PCB chief Zaka Ashraf calls for emergency meeting to discuss ICC draft)

A well-informed source told PTI that this amount didn't include the compensation amount of around USD 15 million that PCB got from the ICC after the 2011 World Cup matches were moved from Pakistan due to security reasons.

"Interestingly in the revised draft working paper aimed at restructuring of world cricket and ICC governance and distribution of finances among member countries, Pakistan's share will grow significantly in the next cycle of ICC events from 2015 to 2023," he said.

"Pakistan's share could cross USD 100 millions if it supports the revised draft paper being pushed by India, Australia and England and which will be put to vote at the next executive board meeting in Singapore on February 8," the source said.

He said the PCB had also been told during and on the sidelines of the ICC executive board meeting held in Dubai this week that it could also earn substantial revenues from the new bilateral agreements that will go into effect from 2015.

"Under the new draft proposal the old system of Future Tours Program which was supposed to run until 2020 has been abolished. Under the old system all bilateral series on home and away basis were finalized under a fixed formula given by the ICC and all members had to adhere to it," the source said.

The source explained that under the new FTP framework all member countries would be free to negotiate bilateral series as they pleased with no interference from the ICC.

"Basically what it means is that if Pakistan and India want to play two series in a year they can but under the old FTP framework they had to have a gap of two years. Under the new FTP countries can also refuse to play even once again another country in the eight year cycle," he said.

He also explained that the Members Participation Agreement had nothing to do with the new bilateral agreements and pertained to all member countries who participated in ICC events. "The MPA is for all member countries to sign to play in ICC events. Until now it has still not worked out what modus operandi will be followed to give legal guarantee of money and matches to any country when they sign bilateral agreements specially if it comes to countries like Pakistan and India," he said.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous/Canadian Boy,

May I remind you that Pak's current reserves of dollars is considered critically low.


When was the last time India has to be bailed out by IMF to pay its bills: 23 years ago. (1991)

When was the last time Pak has to be bailed out by IMF to pay its bills: 23 days ago. (or may by 46 days ago).

Now is the point clear?

Canadian Boy said...

Foreign aid (in million US dollar 2010) Foreign aid per capita (in US dollar) Super power INDIA $775 Failed State Pakistan $261

(Source: Report of Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington)

What point was clear? that Pakistan like European countries need IMF bailout after recent global financial crisis, while India has the honor being one of the biggest net recipient of aid since it was created in 1947. Super power India has received more World Bank aid than any other developing country in the postwar period.Super power India is 2nd largest recipient of WTO Aid-for-Trade.

vicks1980 said...

I am an Indian and I agree the BCCI, full of rich politicians and industrialists, is behaving like a drunken beast whose sole concern is money. It does nothing whatsoever to improve cricket facilities in India, being more than content to eat, drink and crap out money. The ECB and CA have unfortunately fallen prey to the BCCI's evil plans of treating cricket like a cash cow and cricket as a result will suffer due to this plan to carve it up into three mighty pies. While that bit is accepted, I've read your blog for too long to be fooled by your newfound concern for the future of cricket: had this been the PCB instead of the BCCI in this diabolical plan, you would have been crowing from the rooftops about Pakistan's prestige and influence and all the future gold that would come into the PCB's kitty, literally and metaphorically. Your understanding of cricket is such that I remember you gloating about Pakistan's good T20 performances some time back while saying that T20 was where the future lay, or words to that effect. When a commenter reminded you that they were flailing in test cricket, your reply was that test cricket was an old format with declining popularity, so not doing well there hardly mattered.

Riaz Haq said...

Mukul Kesavan on why the BCCI cannot reform:'Conflicts of interest can be fixed; servility is a permanent condition'.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court told lawyers representing the Board of Control for Cricket in India that if the Board’s president, N. Srinivasan, didn’t step down from his post voluntarily, the court would pass orders compelling him to step down. The court went further; it declared that it was “nauseating” that Srinivasan was still in office. It didn’t stop there; referring to the earlier inquiry commissioned by the BCCI into the scandal (conducted by two retired judges of the Madras High Court), the court asked rhetorically, “Can we say that the probe report was managed and if we say so, then what will be the consequences?”

The uncompromising ‘go, or else’ tone, the unusually strong language and the startling suggestion of impropriety seemed to spring from the bench’s exasperation with Srinivasan’s refusal to step aside as president for the duration of the investigation. The judges believed that the investigation into the fixing and betting scandal involving Srinivasan’s IPL club franchise, the Chennai Super Kings and his son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, couldn’t be fairly conducted while he remained in office.

The story of the CSK scandal has been the chronicle of a fall foretold. If the Supreme Court had intervened decisively a few years ago, there mightn’t have been a scandal at all. The large reason why matters came to this pass is this: Indians have the greatest difficulty in agreeing upon what constitutes a conflict of interest.

The squalid sequence of events that culminated in the CSK scandal was set in motion, ironically, when the BCCI decided to amend an excellent provision in its constitution expressly intended to insulate Board officials from conflicts of interest. The clause laid down that “No administrator shall have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches and events conducted by the Board”. The amended version specifically excluded the IPL, the Champion’s League and Twenty20 cricket.

This amendment was passed retrospectively, eight months after the inaugural bidding for the IPL franchises, to regularize N. Srinivasan’s ownership of the CSK franchise. When A.C. Muthiah, a former president of the BCCI moved the Supreme Court arguing that an administrator of the cricket board shouldn’t be allowed to own an IPL franchise because of the obvious conflict of interest, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court delivered a split verdict. This meant that till the matter was resolved by a larger bench of the court, Srinivasan was free to simultaneously own CSK and function as president of the BCCI.

Justice J.M. Panchal was one of the judges on the two-judge bench that delivered the split verdict. His reasons for rejecting Muthiah’s petition are instructive. He ruled that no conflict of interest existed because a) no member of the BCCI or franchisee had objected to the amendment, b) the rules were framed long before the IPL was conceived of and therefore didn’t apply and c) the BCCI had suffered no financial loss because of the “so-called conflict of interest”.

To judge the force of Justice Panchal’s arguments, we need a working definition of “conflict of interest”. The standard definition cited by Wikipedia goes like this: “A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”...


Riaz Haq said...

Narayanaswami Srinivasan marked his controversial ascent to the chairmanship of the International Cricket Council by protesting his innocence of any wrongdoing in the ongoing corruption case in India.

Srinivasan stood aside as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India earlier this year, having been compelled to do so by the country’s supreme court during its match-fixing investigation into the Indian Premier League.

But on Thursday, having already been nominated as the governing body’s first all-powerful chairman at an executive board meeting in February, he was unanimously voted into the role by the 52-member full council at the ICC annual conference.

His so-called “big three” counterparts – Cricket Australia’s chairman, Wally Edwards, and the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman, Giles Clarke – will lead the newly formed executive committee and the financial and commercial affairs committee, respectively.

Plans to reorganise the distribution of ICC profits, which promise greater overall income but also a greater proportion of funds diluted into the coffers of India, Australia and England, will now go ahead.

Critics, who are thick on the ground, have characterised the constitutional shift as a self-interested power grab by the three boards but it is Srinivasan’s elevation to the top job that has proved the real lightning rod for indignation.

As the owner of the Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings, he has been investigated as part of a spot-fixing inquiry that has already laid charges against Srinivasan’s son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan.

Srinivasan attempted to use the occasion of his appointment as a chance to lay out an agenda for inclusivity and growth in the world game but ended up making a staunch personal defence of his own character.

“The [supreme court] committee made a report, which did not involve me, but they had been given a sealed envelope in which they said there were some unsubstantiated, unverified allegations made by some people, which the court is looking into. I said I’ll voluntarily step aside [as BCCI president] during that period.

“Now, as far as I’m concerned, I have done nothing wrong. There is no wrongdoing on my part and therefore my conscience is very clear that there is no taint on me. My son-in-law, there are some charges against him. He has to defend himself in court. It’s a question of it’s going to be proved or not proved but that’s up to him.

“I think you have to wait until everything is clear at the end of the day. If nothing is proved, I think all this comment would have been unfair.”

The BCCI’s secretary, Sanjay Patel, heralded Srinivasan’s appointment and lauded him as the ideal candidate to take charge for the two-year period up to 2016.

“As India takes the leadership position in world cricket, the responsibility of guiding the game in these challenging times could not have found a better leader than Mr Srinivasan,” said Patel.

The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, which took a hard-line stance to the proposals when they emerged in February, were not available for comment.

Following the conference, at which Bangladesh’s Mustafa Kamal was named the ICC president, the Pakistan Cricket Board claimed to have secured significant gains behind the scenes.

A PCB statement revealed it had been awarded the fourth largest share of ICC revenue after the big three – a move sure to be met with incredulity by Cricket South Africa – as well as finalising the details of six bilateral series in eight years with India.

The PCB chairman Najam Sethi, who led negotiations, said: “The PCB had organised itself and planned to get maximum advantage for Pakistan cricket from an extremely precarious position.

“We have accomplished all our objectives. And I am positive that in the times to come Pakistan cricket shall greatly benefit from what the PCB has been able to obtain for it today.”


Riaz Haq said...

The End of #ICC Big 3: Big Blow to #India, #Australia, #England #cricket governance http://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?page=read&id=36781 …

DUBAI - The boards of India, England and Australia will no longer be permanent members of the International Cricket Council's decision-making executive committee, the governing body said on Thursday.
The ICC approved wide-ranging changes in 2014, giving the three powerful nations permanent seats in its executive committee and the lion's share of the revenue while also promising more funds for everyone.

After taking over the reins at the ICC last year, Indian cricket board president Shashank Manohar flayed the imbalance of power and criticised the 2014 restructuring.

"The board has agreed to carry out a complete review of the 2014 resolutions and constitutional changes," the governing body said in a statement following a board meeting held at its Dubai headquarters on Thursday.

The ICC received widespread criticism two years ago with some suggesting the 'Big Three' would take over the sport at the expense of the other cricketing nations.

The governing body's constitution is also to be completely reviewed and all members asked to provide feedback in the next few weeks, it said.

"No member of the ICC is bigger than the other and I am determined to make a meaningful contribution in this regard with support of all the members," Manohar said before adding the ICC chairman would not be allowed to hold a position in a member country board in future.

The ICC has also reinstated Sri Lanka as a full member after the country held elections last month to appoint a new organisation to run the sport.

Sri Lanka had previously been sanctioned for government interference. - Nampa-Reuters