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In a major setback to the BCCI, its opposition to the proposed revenue model and the constitutional reforms that were put in place by the ICC in February has been effectively ended. During the ongoing ICC meetings in Dubai, the Indian board was outvoted 1-9 on the ‘constitutional reforms’ subject, whereas it dealt a 2-8 voting loss on the ‘revenue model contention.’
Ever since the new constitution was formally drafted in February, the BCCI had opposed it tooth and nail and the major point of contention was the new revenue model that ended the ‘Big Three’ domination in the ICC, as called upon by the independent ICC President, Shashank Manohar.
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According to the new model, the BCCI was slated to receive $290 million reduced from the $570 million that it used to receive under the previous model. After fierce opposition from the board in the lead up to the April meetings, Manohar had put forward a new settlement proposal offering an additional corpus of $100 million to the BCCI, thereby taking its revenue share close to $400 million.
However, the BCCI didn't budge and remained adamant on its demand of $570 million citing the contribution that it makes to the central revenue pool. Notwithstanding all of that, a majority of the full members of the ICC has voted in favour of the new revenue model, leaving the BCCI are but stranded.
“Yes, the votings are over. It was 8-2 in favour of revamped revenue model and 9-1 in favour of constitutional changes,” a senior BCCI official present at the meeting in Dubai told PTI.
“The BCCI has voted against both as we had, in principle, maintained that all these changes are completely unacceptable for us. At this point, we can only say that all options are open for us. We would have to go back to our SGM and apprise the members of the situation,” he added.
One of these ‘options’ as mentioned by the official could be to ‘pull out’ of the Champions Trophy, some indications of which were given when the board missed the deadline for announcing the squad for the eight-team tournament, which was on Tuesday.
The settlement offer was made by Manohar to the Amitabh Chaudhary, a BCCI official, and a member of the Committee of Administrators appointed by Supreme Court of India to run the day-to-day affairs of the BCCI post the Lodha Panel reforms.
It is understood that Sri Lanka was the other full member who voted against the newly-proposed constitution of the ICC citing the reason that it wanted to see the changes proposed in the new constitution.
While the support from Sri Lanka came in as a small reprieve, the attitude of the cricket boards of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, who the BCCI had presumably drawn into confidence and had expected favourable votes from, was surprising.
The BCCI official was left fuming after the voting and he minced no words while expressing his frustration. “Zimbabwe have been promised USD 19 million by the ICC. On what grounds has Manohar made this promise? But strangely Bangladesh also went the other way.
“Today (Wednesday) at the meeting, Manohar, in fact, said that the USD 290 million is a 'take it or leave it' offer.”
“Our aim was to protect India's interest. Our tone was extremely conciliatory at the meeting for the best interest of the game. But what was shocking was Mr Manohar's stance,” the official added.
Will India pull out of the Champions Trophy?
When asked about the aftereffects of these developments on India's participation in the Champions Trophy, he said that “all options are open.”
Speaking of the future course of action, the official said, “As of now the joint secretary will go back and an emergent SGM will be called. He will then apprise the General Body about the developments and an appropriate decision will be taken.”
The head of the CoA, Vinod Rai, refused to comment on whether or not India would take part in the ICC tournament that begins from June 1. “I would not like to comment on a hypothetical situation as none of the BCCI officials have spoken to me,” Raid said.
This leaves us scratching our heads to find a solution to the imbroglio that has ensued between the world's richest cricket board, and the body that governs world cricket. Should India pull out of the Champions Trophy, it would not only affect the tournament in terms of broadcasting numbers but would also take away a large chunk of the stadium participation.
The only way to resolve this deadlock, it seems, is for the BCCI to adopt the middle ground and accept Manohar's settlement proposal. In any case, a world cricketing power like India must definitely play the tournament, notwithstanding the outcome of the SGM that is to follow.