ICC Board backed Manohar to the hilt

The ICC Board, for the second time in three and half months, approved the changes to the governance and revenue sharing model by an 8-2 and 9-1 majority vote.

A file picture of Shashank Manohar.   -  Vivek Bendre

Having persuaded Shashank Manohar to withdraw his resignation as Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and continue till he completed the initiative he had undertaken to bring in changes to the administrative structure of the world cricket body, the full members, apart from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), backed the lawyer-turned administrator from Nagpur to the hilt at Wednesday’s ICC Board meeting.

After the BCCI declined a revised sum of $390 million (from the previously allotted share of $289 million) for the 2016-23 eight-year period and the ICC Board turned down a BCCI request to put off taking a call on the administrative changes to beyond the ICC Annual Conference in June, the ICC Board, for the second time in three and half months, approved the changes to the governance and revenue sharing model by an 8-2 and 9-1 majority vote.

An ICC official explained that the Sri Lankan cricket board did not side with the BCCI; that it had reservations about certain clauses in the governance structure and hence it voted against it. In the first week of February, Sri Lanka had voted against it for the same reason and Zimbabwe had abstained because it did not agree with the relegation clause for the existing full-member countries.

The ICC has deleted the relegation clause altogether and Zimbabwe Cricket is much happier about it. An ICC Press Release said: "Under the revised version that will be presented to the annual conference and in an effort to support existing full-members, the potential for reclassification of full membership was removed. The Board acknowledged the need to sustain and grow the number of members competing at the top level."

The release also stated that the resolutions were passed 13-1 for the revenue model and 12-2 for the governance model. It appears that the Chairman’s vote is counted as one, even if he doesn’t respond when a division is called. One among the governance proposals is to award voting rights to the three Directors from the Associate member category and it appears that the support extended by members on the ICC Board, from Singapore, Ireland and Namibia, have also been added to the votes of the 10 full-member Boards.

Further the statement from the ICC also said that the Working Group that had recommended changes has been guided by the principles of "Equity, good conscience, common sense and simplicity, enabling every member to grow, revenue generated by members and greater transparency."

The BCCI has harped on a point that the ICC has to abide by a clutch of resolutions in 2014, which Manohar has, many times in the past, dubbed as "unethical and unfair."

The 2014 "Big3 agreement" vested India, Australia and England with supreme authority and also gave the BCCI a substantial portion of the ICC’s gross revenue.

A few members told Sportstar: "The BCCI should also recall the decision it took at the SGM in Mumbai on February 19, 2016. It was agreed then that the BCCI would accept a cut of $150 million and that Manohar also assured the house that he would not take the BCCI’s share below 15% of the ICC’s net revenue. The audio recording of the SGM was played for Amitabh (Choudhary) before he left for Dubai."

It is understood that there was some "rough" talking during the five-day ICC meetings in Dubai; that the representatives of the ECB and Cricket Australia, both part of the 2014 Big3 set up, told the BCCI that nothing is going to change their position.

"But everyone liked the way Amitiabh (Choudhary) went about conducting himself. He was decent, polite and gracious,’’ remarked a top ICC official.

Further Constitution changes include:

(1) The potential to include additional full members in future, subject to meeting membership criteria

(2) removal of the affiliate level of membership. So only two categories — full member and associate member

(3) the introduction of an independent female director

(4) the introduction of membership criteria and a membership committee established to consider membership applications

(5) the introduction of a Deputy Chairman of the Board, who will be a sitting director elected by the Board to stand in for the Chairman in the event of he/she unable to fulfil his/her duties.