The Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) will engage with state cricket associations in an effort to get them to amend their constitution as per the Supreme Court’s directions but those refusing to fall in line will face the consequences of defying the highest court of the land, according to its chief Vinod Rai.
The committee believes they are just on Step One — having put up a modified constitution on the BCCI website on Saturday, but are confident that no problem they face is “insurmountable”. “If they (state associations) have genuine problem in understanding it, we would help them understand it. That’s our job. If they still refuse, then of course we would have to make our own method how we ask them to understand it,” Rai said in a media interaction.
“At some point of time, they (officials of cricket associations) would understand that it’s the end of road for them. If they don’t understand it, they have to be made to understand it in the language they understand. You can’t have defiance at the highest court of land. Greater bodies, people with more authoritative power than that have tried to do that to supreme court and they have not succeeded.” The state associations have their own constitution which state that the two-thirds majority of general body is needed to make any amendments. In a letter to COA earlier this month, some associations pointed out their rights as set by Indian constitution [section 19 (1) (c)] would be violated. Rai said the COA would help clarify the doubts of the associations.
Big Three, revenue sharing
The other issue that came up in the discussion was about the financial revenue sharing of the ICC. The COA also reiterated that BCCI’s interests in their dealings with ICC and any policy matter would be “protected totally”. Rai’s comments come days after the Indian cricket board shot off a 11-page letter to ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson, categorically rejecting the proposed revenue model, which would see India’s revenue share reduced because of the dismantling of the Big Three Formula.
“Interests of BCCI would protected totally. We are not interested in playing politics but if politics needs to be played, we won’t be find wanting.”
In 2014, former BCCI president N Srinivasan introduced the Big Three model where three countries India, England, Australia would get major share of ICC’s revenue as per their contribution in ICC’s revenue. India (20.3%), England Cricket Board (4.4%) and Cricket Australia A (2.7%) took off the major 27.4% share of the total ICC’s revenue from 2015-2023 cycle. Later when Shashank Manohar became ICC chairman, he called it big countries bullying smaller nation. In the recent months, Indian board, under guidance of COA, have said they would protect BCCI’s interests.
Rai reiterated the COA’s stand. “We are in negotiations with the ICC. Our commitment is to the fact that despite whatever was the unanimous decision of the SGM of February 2016, where they were willing to negotiate and take a lower cut or reduction in the revenues of the BCCI, our attempt is to try and ensure that the BCCI does not lose financially. So whether you call it the Big Three or you say 9-1, we met up with Mr Shashank Manohar, we felt that his being at the helm of affairs in the ICC was very advantageous to us because he has headed BCCI. So he knows what it’s all about. He gave us very good guidance. And we will proceed along the lines that the financial interests of the BCCI are not in any way jeopardised.”
Ramachandra Guha, part of the COA, said that the stature of Rai and Vikram Limaye would ensure that BCCI’s interests would be protected. “We absolutely cannot sacrifice India’s interests … Between Mr Rai and Mr Limaye, they can sort out complex financial negotiations on behalf of the republic of India. It’s an accident that these two are there. It’s a happy accident.” A day after meeting with COA, Manohar had resigned as chairman of ICC, citing personal reasons. Rai shared what happened in that meeting.
“When we met him we tried to understand the financial model and the reasoning behind it. The logic behind it. We were new to it. There is a history to the whole thing. We discussed with people inside BCCI who were privy to the meetings earlier. Mr Manohar has seen it from the point of views of BCCI and ICC. Whatever little he could explain to us we understood. Then we put forward our position to him. He was very appreciative of that.”