Pakistan Cricket Board’s case against Board of Control for Cricket in India was dismissed by ICC’s Dispute Panel, the world cricket body confirmed on Tuesday (November 20). PCB were seeking compensation for damages to the tune of $70 million from BCCI for not honouring the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two boards in 2014 to play a bilateral series. ICC had earlier said the decision from the panel will be final and cannot be challenged.
“Following a three-day hearing and having considered detailed oral and written submissions, the Dispute Panel has dismissed the PCB’s claim against the BCCI,” the ICC said in a release. The hearings in the case took place in Dubai from October 1-3.
That agreement between BCCI and PCB was the price the Indian board paid for Pakistan board’s approval of the ‘Big Three’ (India, Australia, England) governance changes; those changes were first voted in before being reversed. Per the MoU, the two countries were to play six series over eight years between 2015 and 2023.
The issue arose with India refusing to indulge in any bilateral cricket with Pakistan owing to the political tension and lack of government clearance despite the MoU being signed. BCCI had maintained that the proposed series can only go ahead following a clearance by the government.
The ICC dispute panel ruled that the document signed between the two boards did not seem binding. “It follows inexorably that the PCB’s claim must fail. If there was no obligation on the BCCI to engage in the tours in either 2014 or 2015, its omission to do so was no breach and gave rise to no damages claim,” it said.
“We are happy that our stand has been vindicated. What PCB termed as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was just a proposal letter,” CoA chief Vinod Rai told PTI. “I would like to thank the BCCI legal team as well as everyone who worked on this arbitration,” Rai said.
Rai said BCCI will now file a counter compensation case against the PCB to demand the cost of arbitration. “We will make a presentation to the panel and demand entire cost of compensation to be borne by the PCB for the arbitration where there claims have been dismissed,” he added.
PCB’s compensation claim was triggered by a loss of TV revenue for the proposed series in 2015. “The Panel accepts that the awareness of the BCCI’s claimed need for government approval was indeed reflected not only in PCB Emails but also in minutes of PCB board meetings, all of which were aggregated in the BCCIs helpful schedule to its written submissions,” the ICC judgement stated.
India’s former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid was among those who were cross-examined during the dispute panel hearing. According to a senior BCCI official, he justified India’s refusal to play bilateral cricket with Pakistan, citing security concerns.
The ICC panel did urge the two countries, with frosty diplomatic ties, to consider reviving bilateral cricket. “The Panel expresses the hope that political considerations will not long prevent that desire from being fulfilled,” the judgement’s conclusion read.
India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in 2013 in India and have only met in multi-team tournaments since then. The last Test series, also in India, was played in 2007.
(With PTI inputs)