What’s the story?
Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar has declared that the BCCI is well within their rights to pull out Virat Kohli’s team from the upcoming edition of the Champions Trophy in England & Wales. Citing the legality surrounding the Big Three financial model, the 67-year-old questioned the feasibility of the current agreement.
“If they go strictly by the book, when the 2014 model came into being, I think with that legal agreement, they are entirely within their rights if they decide to withdraw from the tournament. The agreement that was there in 2014 has been completely overlooked. I don’t think we should forget that. The thing is, if the 2014 model has been overlooked, maybe you can overlook the 2017 model also in a couple of months,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
He added, “The only influence that has remained constant at international level has been that of England and Australia. Maybe, India are not as powerful as they were maybe a couple of years back. Maybe, they will have to look within themselves why that has happened because of things that have happened and only the BCCI are responsible for that.”
Apart from India, all the other seven participating nations have submitted their squads for the Champions Trophy. Due to BCCI’s financial tussle with ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar, there is an increasing sense of uncertainty about the team’s participation in the tournament.
The heart of the matter
Even though Gavaskar expressed doubts regarding the revamped financial model, he admitted that BCCI‘s power has weakened following the developments of the last couple of years. When asked if the other boards could isolate India from the international circuit, the veteran pointed to the team’s ability to pull massive crowds as well as sponsors and reiterated that such a drastic move cannot happen due to financial reasons.
According to the Members Participation Agreement (MPA), India pulling out of the Champions Trophy can lead to legal ramifications. The April 25 date of submitting the squad is not a final one and can be extended upon request.
All eyes will be on BCCI’s Special General Meeting (SGM) on May 7th. With the Supreme Court giving the power to renege on signed deals to only the Committee of Administrators (CoA), it remains to be seen what kind of decision is taken in the meeting.
Needless to say, the option of withdrawing from the Champions Trophy will affect both the Indian team as well as the tournament. For the sake of all concerned parties, let us hope that the BCCI accepts Manohar’s compensatory offer of an additional $100 million and allows the ‘Men in Blue’ to participate in the Champions Trophy.