The controversy over former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan’s appointment as a players’ representative on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee was reignited on Thursday. The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) has now referred the matter to the ICC Ethics Officer for an independent investigation.
FICA said that the step was taken after they unsuccessfully tried to convince the ICC that ‘it refused to follow its own processes for dealing with unethical behaviour’ after allegations surfaced that a majority of the captains were coerced against their wishes by their respective boards to change their initial votes which were in favour of Australian Tim May.
“We have evidence of captains being pressured by their boards into changing their votes away from the incumbent player representative on the committee Tim May,in favour of Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and we will present this to the Ethics Officer. The evidence is strong and we expect it to be acted upon,” FICA Executive Chairman Paul Marsh said.
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Sivaramakrishnan,the Indian cricket board’s candidate,beat May for the job resulting in a controversy as reports emerged that captains had overwhelmingly voted for May in the initial election before a re-poll was conducted to ensure the Indian’s appointment.
However,BCCI vice president Niranjan Shah said that the BCCI did not recognise the FICA. “As far as BCCI is concerned FICA has no locus standi. However,if the issue has been raised by FICA our officials concerned who are attending the ICC conference in London will give an appropriate reply,” Shah told The Indian Express.
FICA has said that they had no option but to knock on the door of the ICC Ethics Officer.
No choice for FICA
“FICA has tried all we can to get the ICC to refer this matter to the Ethics Officer themselves,however after more than six weeks of no action we are left with no choice but to refer the matter ourselves,” said Marsh added.
The decision to refer the controversial captains’ vote to the ICC Ethics Officer was taken at a FICA Board meeting in London last week.
“Sadly this is yet another example of the poor governance practices that exist in cricket. The ICC should be taking these allegations incredibly seriously but instead they are ignoring the processes under their own code and hoping the matter will go away,” Marsh stated.
The FICA Executive also met with teams and players during the week and came up with a ‘Statement of Unity’.
In the statement,the players have said that,”We support FICA as the voice of professional cricketers everywhere and expect it to receive due recognition and respect by the ICC and our respective Boards as it plays its role in representing our interests. We further expect cricket’s administrators to ensure our great game is managed off the field to the same high standards of dignity and integrity as those to which we are committed.”
The story so far
* Tim May re-elected as player representative on ICC cricket committee but loses out to Laxman Sivaramakrishnan in a revote.
* The international players federations (FICA) legal advisor Ian Smith says captains were pressurised by home boards to change their choice of candidate in the second voting process. The BCCI is accused of putting other boards under pressure.
* However,the ICC says that there was nothing wrong with the revote because it was initially unclear which player would be allowed to vote in case of a tie,especially from teams that had multiple captains.
* The ICC says it is ready to consider putting the issue before its ethics committee after which unconfirmed stories emerge that India would pull out of the Champions Trophy.