Former Board secretary Niranjan Shah pointed out a discrepancy with umpires getting higher match fee than domestic cricketers for BCCI tournaments. Shah’s Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), along with several other cricket board members including Kerala and the National Cricket Club (NCC), demanded a Special General Meeting (SGM) on June 22 to discuss issues like player contracts, remuneration of domestic players and match officials.
BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary issued a notice for the SGM, to be held at 10 am in New Delhi on June 22. The notice also mentioned: “Only office-bearers may represent the member associations”.
The CoA, at its meeting on April 12, had decided to double the match fee of umpires, match referees and curators. The top 20 umpires will now get Rs 40,000 per day to officiate in matches other than T20s.
For the shortest format, the fee has been increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000. The domestic cricketers, however, are entitled to only Rs 35,000 per day for a first-class fixture.
“Though it is welcomed to have raise in match fees of umpires and other match officials, it is indeed shocking and surprising that recommended match fees of umpires would be higher than that of domestic senior players, which has been Rs. 35000 per day. I fail to understand how can match fee of umpires be more than players,” Shah said. “Since the last domestic season, i.e. 2017-18, each team in Ranji Trophy is getting two fewer league matches than in the earlier format, which is a considerable financial loss to players.”
Meanwhile, a 10-point demand notice for the SGM sent by about 20 full member units – 10 is the minimum requirement to call a general body meeting – has listed player contracts, and match fee for domestic cricketers and match officials as the top items on the agenda.
In March this year, the CoA announced the new contract system and compensation structure for Indian cricket, introducing an ‘A+’ grade and handing Rs 7-cr per annum contracts to five players in that category – Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. The retainer fees for Grade A, B and C, too, had been increased to Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore respectively.
Some BCCI officials, however, disapproved of the process, saying it wasn’t ratified by the general body. The member units cited ‘Rule 17 (i) (c) of the Rules and Regulations of the BCCI’ to ask for a general body meeting.
According to a cricket board member, Item No. 3 that would deal with “… all matters pertaining to the ICC including but not limited to revenues and the Members Participation Agreement (MPA),”is “important” after the global body’s decision to scrap the 2021 Champions Trophy to be replaced with a World T20. The general body is unlikely to approve the switch.
Also, certain appointments in the BCCI of late – Item No. 6 – have irked the members including the acting secretary, while matters related to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) – Item No. 8 – have made a section of the cricket board unhappy as well.