The Board of Control for Cricket in India was dealt a serious blow during the ICC meet in Dubai on Wednesday, when most of the member countries outvoted the BCCI, which had rejected the new financial model. All the changes will be officially approved in June during the ICC annual conference. The Indian board is an unhappy unit, and the question of India's participation in ICC Champions Trophy hangs in the balance.
As per the new revenue model, the BCCI will receive $293 million as compared to the $570 million that they got under the last model. No wonder then that the Indian cricket body is disappointed with this kind of revenue sharing.
India missed the deadline of announcing the Champions Trophy squad, as they were waiting for some positive results from the ICC meet.
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However, with things not going in favour of BCCI, the prospect of India's withdrawal from the Champions Trophy looms large. There is no official confirmation about it so far, but the BCCI could play pressure tactics and protest against the new model by not sending a team for the competition.
Now, will that be a wise option?
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The BCCI has always been handsomely rewarded as the ICC is aware that a major part of the revenue for them comes from India.
There is a reason behind the ICC's stance of preventing the Big Three — Australia, England and India — from enjoying a major share from the old revenue model. The ICC wants to provide a fair share of revenue to other countries as well, hoping that it leads to development in the sport in those countries too.
"The revenue distribution for the cycle 2016-2023 will be as follows:
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Based on current forecasted revenues and costs, BCCI will receive $293m across the eight year cycle, ECB $143m, Zimbabwe Cricket $94m and the remaining seven Full Members $132m each. Associate Members will receive funding of $280m."
Even as per the new ICC model, the BCCI stands to receive $293m during the eight-year circle, which is the highest share for any board. The England and Wales Cricket Board will receive the second highest amount of $143m, which is half of what India gets. Remember, the ECB are also okay with the new model while they were paid much better earlier. So if they are happy with it, why isn't India?
It would not be wise for the BCCI to take the harsh decision of not sending their players to participate in the ICC Champions Trophy. There is a serious need for the board to settle this matter without involving Team India, who also happen to be the defending champions.
How can a cricket board use their national team as a bait? The BCCI has to remember that though the board pay the players' salaries, they represent a nation — India. No one has ever heard a cricketer say that he plays for BCCI. When the players win a title, they win it for India, not for the BCCI.
The BCCI may view cricket as a business, but for millions of cricket fans in India, it is much more than a game. It is a religion.
There may be different ways of taking on the ICC, like not featuring in some bilateral series, and that too if nothing works out, since BCCI has to definitely figure out something, but not playing in one of the most sought after ICC competitions in world cricket would not be right for any one, including cricketers.
The board may still go ahead with it, and pull Team India out of the Champions Trophy, but it is not a simple process. You cannot just walk away.
A proper process will have to be followed, including cancellation of the Members Participation Agreement. Also, the members can only terminate the agreement (MPA) as a whole, not in parts.
"To pull out you have to revoke the MPA, which is a legal document. All the legal authority sits with the COA. The office bearers will need to consult the COA. You can make a threat, but you have to follow it up with a letter to become a reality. Then if the COA approves then it will direct Johri, who is the only one authorised to sign such a letter," ESPN Cricinfo quoted a board official as saying.
As of now, the option of India skipping the Champions Trophy is a big NO NO.
The economy and political issues should be kept away from the cricketers, who will love to play for India in the Champions Trophy, scheduled to start on June 1. India have been clubbed with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa in Group B.