Stepping up opposition

CSA ready with its own proposal to restructure world body.

New Delhi: The last word on the proposed restructuring of the International Cricket Council (ICC) hasn’t been said as yet. Although some ICC Full Member countries have seemingly come around to agree to the draft proposals after initially opposing them, the South African cricket Board in particular – besides Pakistan and Sri Lanka — seems to be sticking to its stand.

First, Cricket South Africa (CSA) early on Tuesday denied “any notion of deals” with the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that reportedly would allow “reintegration” of its CEO Haroon Lorgat into top administration in exchange for a vote for the proposals at the ICC Executive Board meeting on Saturday.

Lorgat and BCCI president N Srinivasan have been at loggerheads since the time the former was the ICC CEO. Now, the CSA is said to have prepared its own position paper that it intends to send to the ICC president Alan Isaac, possibly on Wednesday.

It is believed to carry CSA’s point of view of how to restructure the ICC. A working group comprising the BCCI, the England Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA), had prepared a 21-page draft position paper on ICC/IDI group structure, governance, financial model, bilateral series, and ICC events.

Although only a diluted version of the draft was discussed at the January 28-29 meeting of the ICC Executive Board, some countries – chiefly South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka – did not agree to the proposed changes. Interestingly, all three Boards – besides the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) — issued statements immediately after that conclave, pointing out their disagreement.

Since then the BCB has come around to support the proposals, apparently after it was given an assurance that its Test status would not be snatched away, because the leaked original draft position paper had suggested a two-tier Test cricket and Bangladesh was slotted in the bottom tier. That raised apprehensions within the BCB that the country might lose its Test status.

But South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have maintained their opposition to the proposals. A source said that now South Africa has prepared a nine-page position paper in which it has reportedly mentioned that the proposals by the ‘Big Three’ are “against the very democratic principles that Nelson Mandela stood for”. He also said that the paper begins with a quote of Mandela.

The source said that the CSA, in the paper, says it needs to first understand how the revenue distributed was arrived at in the draft proposal and only then can it make up its mind on the matter. This comes on the heels of CSA  "dismissing” a report that it was in the middle of talks to strike a deal with the BCCI, with which it has not been on good terms lately. The report, says the BCCI would allow CSA CEO Lorgat to get back into top administration in exchange for supporting the ICC proposals.

“While we are engaged in discussions with the ICC and other Members, including the BCCI, to find an acceptable way forward, we have not and will not consider deals that compromise our key principles and integrity,” said CSA president Chris Nenzani in a statement.

“CSA vehemently denies any notion of deals being made with any other party. On the contrary we will seek to uphold good governance and our professional approach to find solutions to the current proposals,” he said.

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