MUMBAI: Top stakeholders in the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), peeved at the “shabby manner” in which the International Cricket Council (ICC) has treated them recently, say they will not sign the Members Participation Agreement (MPA) with the global governing body.
Speaking with TOI from London, a very senior functionary in English cricket, who has also been associated with the ICC in the past, said: “ICC should wake up and smell the coffee. Of all the money that comes to the ICC, 70% of it comes from India and around 22% comes from the UK. The remaining six to eight percent is what the rest of the world contributes. The whole voting system in the ICC has become such a stink that nobody’s bothered about the cricket any more”.
The ECB source said that it was important that Indian media highlights this issue because India is the biggest benefactor of the game. “Let me give you an example of how flawed the ICC functioning has been in recent times. The Financial and Commercial Affairs committee (FMCA) of the ICC is their most powerful one. The man appointed to head that committee cannot even visit India. Now, that’s what you call a farce,” the senior administrator said.
The reference was to the appointment of Ehsaan Mani, the chairman of the FMCA, who was brought in by ICC chairman Shashank Manohar to replace ECB chairman Colin Graves. As a citizen of Pakistan, Mani may struggle to get the visa to visit India.
“That’s how badly things are handled there. The commercial affairs committee head can’t go to a country from where almost all revenues comes. Why did the ICC remove Mr Graves from that position? Because of votes? It’s a very thin and dangerous rope that global cricket administrators are walking. If India and England decide they do not wish to walk that line anymore, everything is doomed,” he warned.
Even ECB believes the ICC’s decision to scrap the Champions Trophy was an impractical one and now, with the global body trying to revive the same tournament, albeit in a different format, sources say it may not work.
“The Champions Trophy was one of our best tournaments. It suited the purpose of a short window, had good participation and was a shot in the arm for the 50-over format. It was done away with thanks to some weird reasoning that it was very similar to the 50-over World Cup. Then why is the ICC re-thinking a separate 50-over tournament now?” says the senior administrator.
ICC trying to revive CT differently
A little more than a year after scrapping the 50-over Champions Trophy and converting the 2021 edition of the same tournament scheduled in India into a 16-team T20 World Cup, the ICC is once again busy contemplating a return to the original format, albeit with lesser teams.
The game’s global governing body, in its recent meetings in Dubai, ‘discussed’ the idea of putting in place a six-team 50-over tournament while designing the new Future Tours Programme (FTP) template for the next rights cycle.