The International Cricket Council (ICC) wants tax exemptions for next year’s T20 World Cup to be hosted in India or the money paid by the world body would be deducted from the Indian cricket board’s share of revenue. The other option, before the ICC, is to move the tournament to the United Arab Emirates, which hosted the last season of the Indian Premier League. The tax issue is high on the agenda of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) 89th Annual General Body Meeting. Cricket’s possible inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, which is backed by the ICC, will also be discussed.
The ICC has set the December 31 deadline for the Indian board to confirm a full tax exemption. “As per Clause 10.20 of host agreement for this event, the BCCI is obligated to deliver to ICC a full tax exemption for all income arising out of this event in favour of ICC, its subsidiaries and associates and its Members at least 18 month prior to the start of the event,” the BCCI has mentioned in the agenda papers for its 89th Annual General Meeting to be held in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
Without a full tax exemption, the ICC’s surplus payout to its Members will be reduced and in May this year, the game’s global body had agreed to extend the deadline for the BCCI till December 31 to do the needful. If the Indian board fails, then: “a. ICC moves the 2021 event from India to UAE or “b. BCCI provides an undertaking that if the BCCI is unable to achieve the requisite tax solution then any resulting tax liabilities by ICC/IBC/its Members will be set off against monies owed to the BCCI from ICC (including ICC distributions) and that the BCCI will be liable for any shortfall after set off.”
The BCCI has already distributed the agenda papers among its members and the issue is going to be deliberated upon at length at the AGM. The BCCI-ICC tax tussle has been an ongoing saga. The global body had earlier wanted to recover the tax burden of the 2016 World T20 in India and threatened the BCCI to deduct a part of its annual revenue share in case of non-exemption.
Cricket in Olympics
The ICC document, in possession with The Indian Express, describes cricket and the Olympic Games “a winning partnership”. According to the game’s governing body: “Cricket can provide the Olympic movement with an unrivalled opportunity to drive fan engagement across the Asian Sub-Continent.”
As for cricket’s benefits, the document says: “The Olympics can provide cricket with an unrivalled opportunity to super-charge global growth beyond its traditional heartlands, particularly in the USA, Europe and China.”
The ICC is targeting the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and a survey among its Associate Members showed that an additional $13 million funding could be triggered just for the Associates through cricket’s inclusion in the quadrennial showpiece event.
The ICC has also chalked out a tentative cricket programme for the 2028 Olympics: “One men’s and one women’s event (each spanning 9 days); Twenty20 format; 8 teams, and 16 matches per event; 11 players per team / 15 players per squad; 2 venues / turf or hybrid pitches.” The ICC wants all its 104 members to be united “to progress a bid” and lists “unifying all Members behind the campaign for cricket’s inclusion” as a challenge.
So far the BCCI has shown reluctance to cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics. There’s an apprehension that cricket in T20 format in the Olympics can negatively affect the revenue stream from bilateral and global T20 events.
The ICC, on the other hand, believes that cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics will ensure “diversification of funding for Members, reducing reliance on ICC funding”.
It is learnt that the BCCI under its present dispensation is open to consider cricket’s inclusion in the Los Angeles Olympics, which is a reason the item has been listed on the AGM agenda. Only last month, former India captain and current National Cricket Academy director Rahul Dravid threw his weight behind a cricket-Olympics partnership.
New IPL teams
The members will deliberate on incorporating two new teams into the Indian Premier League (IPL). According to a BCCI official, the majority of the members are in favour of an expansion, as they feel it would create a “larger talent pool, given the abundance of talent in Indian cricket”. It needs to be seen if the BCCI brings on one new team to start with or two, and from the next year or 2022. “We will take a decision after the matter is placed before the members; one new team or two, from 2021 or 2022; we want to go ahead based on consensus,” the BCCI official said.
According to sources, Ahmedabad, which is said to have the world’s largest cricket stadium at Motera with a seating capacity of 110,000, is all but certain to have a new IPL team.
T20 World Cup venues
The BCCI has picked Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mohali, Dharamsala, Kolkata and Mumbai to host the T20 World Cup matches. Some members, though, prefer a wider distribution. “It’s a matter of pride for every centre to host World Cup matches. We have high-class stadiums and top facilities and we want the BCCI to consider our case as well. We are OK with the bigger centres hosting India matches. But at least give us some games. We will raise the issue at the AGM,” president of a West Zone state association said.