Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Big three need one more vote

With the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) accepting revised proposals for the restructure of the ICC after securing the assurance that their Test status will not be revoked, India, England and Australia are one vote away from the number required to push through constitutional amendments in order that the revamp be completed in full.

“BCB has stood firm on [not agreeing] to the two-tier format...but they have agreed upon the position paper,” a BCB official confirmed yesterday, referring to the two-tier format that would automatically put the No. 9 and 10 teams in the ICC rankings outside the existing group of eight Test playing nations. The lack of clarity as to whether the BCB had signed off on the guiding principles or on the resolutions pertaining to the amendments, with the official saying the board had not put pen to paper, took the Big Three a step closer to gaining greater control of the ICC’s functioning and its revenues.

Of the four boards that had opposed the content and speed with which the document was being pushed through, BCB’s concerns about their Test status appear to have been addressed. It now leaves the cricket boards of Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka as the only three who have made it clear that their “support” for the ICC’s key principles as announced on Tuesday still remained subject to approval by their home boards.

There appears to be confidence in the “Big Three” camp that they will be able to get the support of one of the three by the end of the week and thus have a total of eight on their side, which makes up the three-fourths majority needed to pass constitutional amendments in the ICC.

Rather than the two-thirds majority required for more routine decisions regarding ICC’s functioning, constitutional amendments require three-fourths majority, i.e. eight out of ten members in agreement so that “special resolutions” be passed. There are several components of the ICC’s Finance & Commercial Affairs committee working group’s paper that require constitutional amendments - like the creation of a new internal Executive committee (ExCo), changes in the ICC Board and a new ICC commercial entity to be called IBC.

A Big Three insider told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday night: “The next round of negotiations, read bargaining, begins now.”

Yesterday, another representative said the message from the group was that, “There are no more negotiations left except in terms of the FTP and minor issues regarding promotion and relegations.”

At the end of the ICC Executive Board meeting which ICC president Alan Isaac called, “one of the most productive and participatory meetings of all that I have been in,” he said that there were several stages left for the completion of the revamp, with key principles agreed to. “The detail around those principles needs to be worked out and obviously be further approved by the board at further meetings. We’ve agreed principles at the moment, we haven’t adopted resolutions or recommendations from the draft report subsequently negotiated. We’ve just agreed to a set of principles.”