The ICC’s new constitution moved a step closer to reality on a dramatic afternoon in Dubai, as cricket’s Full Members exercised their collective will to outvote the BCCI.
The Indian board was the only Full Member to object to the new financial model, and was one of only two Full Members to vote against the new governance changes. The financial model, with which the BCCI has been unhappy, received overwhelming support from Full Members, who voted to pass it 9-1 in favour, while the proposed governance changes to in the new constitution were passed by an 8-2 margin.
The next step as far as implementing the constitution now will come at the annual conference in June, where it will be approved formally after being ratified. That day will mark the formal end of the Big Three era, two years after it came into effect.
The day’s biggest reverberations will come from the failure of the BCCI to push through a financial model they could be happy with. Indeed, not only did they fail to get the $570 million cut from ICC revenues that they demanded when they arrived in Dubai, they failed to secure the compromise offer that the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar had put forward.
In that, he was willing to up their share by approximately $100 million. Instead, in the model that has been voted through the Indian board’s share from ICC revenues in the next rights cycle will be $293 million, a little more than half the amount the Indian board wanted.
The behind-the-scenes developments in how BCCI was muscled out offer an intriguing contrast to past ICC meetings where the BCCI has held sway. Manohar arrived in Dubai last weekend and is understood to have had lengthy meetings with BCCI office bearers as well its chief executive Rahul Johri. The ICC’s compromise offer, which would fetch the BCCI nearly $400 million, was made to Choudhury by Manohar, the most prominent figure behind the new changes. That deal, incidentally, was one the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) – which is overseeing the board’s operations -was happy with when Manohar ran it by them in March.
The BCCI was asked to respond on Monday, as the ICC working group was meeting to finalise the resolutions based on the feedback given by all Member boards including the Associates. The BCCI then approached most of the major Full Members with their counter offer: they get $570 million but none of the other Full Members get anything less than what they were assured in Manohar’s model. But the other Full Members stood firm and rejected the BCCI’s offer, leaving Choudhry and Chaudhry in a tight position hours before the ICC Board meeting began on Wednesday morning.
“The alternative left for them was to adopt the middle ground,” one official familiar with the situation said. The BCCI was told it would do well to consider Manohar’s offer. “It is INR 700 crore ($100 million), and they were told to consider hard before making a move.”
Another source said: “Shashank was trying to get them (BCCI) across the line, but they declined.”
Though BCCI office bearers have previously blamed Manohar for harming their interests, Choudhury did not take an aggressive stance during the ICC Board meeting. Officials present said he was “friendly and very charming,” and that he said though he wanted to find a solution he had to disagree with the finance model and the governance structure.
“He was restating the BCCI’s reservations expressed last month,” one source said. Neither Choudhury nor any of the BCCI administrators in India made a statement in response to the developments in Dubai. According to PTI, the BCCI will call a special general meeting to decide on the next step.
Ultimately, only marginally less significant than the financial model going through was the fact that a major portion of the governance changes did so as well, and with such majority: only Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) joined the BCCI in not supporting it. Some will be tweaked and the ICC did agree to remove one significant proposal – the potential reclassification of Full Member status to Associate membership if a set of criteria was not met when a board was evaluated. Many Full Members including the Bangladesh Cricket Board, Zimbabwe Cricket and SLC were against it.
But also approved was a resolution to expand the composition of the ICC Board which sees an increase in the number of votes from 10 (Full Members only) to 15 – 10 Full Members, three Associates, one independent female director, and the chairman. Potentially, that could change the nature of decision-making at the highest levels of the game, making it more difficult for just one or two boards to dominate. On the day at least, that message resonated loudest.