ICC chairman Shashank Manohar (right), ECB chairman Giles Clarke (left) and CA chairman David Peever once again offered the BCCI a settlement © Getty Images
The door has not yet been completely shut on the BCCI as far as the ICC’s finance model is concerned. ESPNcricinfo understands that immediately after the BCCI was outvoted at the ICC Board meeting on Wednesday, the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar informed Amitabh Choudhury, the BCCI secretary, that the settlement offer of an additional $100 million was still on the table.
Under the new finance model, the BCCI stands to receive $293 million from the ICC revenue across an eight-year cycle. The BCCI had wanted $570 million – the share it would have received under the previous Big Three finance model – but Manohar had made a counter offer of an additional $100 million over the $293 million to raise the Indian board’s share to nearly $400 million.
On Wednesday, the ICC board read the letter submitted by Choudhury on the mandate given to him by the BCCI and rejected his proposal.
How did the BCCI lose?
Hours before before the ICC Board met, Choudhury and BCCI CEO Rahul Johri conducted discussions with heads of various boards such as the ECB, Cricket Australia, the WICB, Associates representative Imran Khawaja, and Manohar.
It is understood that both BCCI representatives wanted to try and find a “middle path” on the finance model. The idea was to get as close to the $445 million figure the Committee of Administrators (CoA, appointed by Supreme Court of India to supervise the BCCI) had asked Manohar for in March.
There was then a separate meeting between Choudhury and three members of the ICC working group, which had drafted the new constitution. Manohar, ECB chairman Giles Clarke and CA chairman David Peever once again placed the offer of an additional $100 million to Choudhury.
“Earlier the offer had been made by Manohar, but this was a formal offer from the ICC working group. He [Choudhury] turned it down,” an official said. “He was told that in that case the original proposal had already been approved in February and we can’t change that. Hence the ICC model went through.”
With Choudhury refusing to enter a discussion on the settlement deal, the ICC working group was left with no choice but to ask for a show of hands. The BCCI was taken aback when Full Members whom it understood to be in its corner swayed to the ICC side. The BCB, Zimbabwe Cricket and the WICB have been BCCI allies for a long time, but on Wednesday they voted against it. The case of the BCB and ZC was surprising only because both had submitted strong reservations at the outset of the ICC Board meeting. ZC even called the draft constitution “discriminatory.”
The official said one main reason behind these three boards changing stance was the ICC’s decision to provide them financial help. It is understood ZC could be given $19 million to clear its debt while the WICB had asked for $40 million as a grant.
What now for the BCCI?
A ray of hope still exists, considering Manohar wants the BCCI to be happy. A source who has worked closely with Manohar since he arrived at the ICC last year said he has no “desire to alienate” the BCCI. He has asked the ICC to continue engaging with the BCCI.
The other reason for the BCCI remaining optimistic was a significant decision the ICC Board agreed on: to move the finance model out of the constitution. The BCCI feels there is still some room for manoeuvre.
The working group will meet once again during the ICC’s annual conference in June to approve the final changes to the constitution, governance structure and finance model – all of which would be finally ratified by the ICC Board. “All the boards want this resolved also,” the official said. “What happened yesterday does not mean India has diminished.”
Choudhury told the ICC that he would need to head back to the BCCI, which will take a final decision at a special general body meeting (SGM).
The official said India still had the bargaining power because of its importance in bilateral cricket. He pointed out that the ICC might need to increase its settlement offer and “go beyond” the proposed $100 million.
“There are two ways of resolving this now. One is the SGM says okay, 390 is good. Let us go ahead. The ICC will agree immediately and resolve it. Or [the SGM] says we need more time. Then there will be another round of negotiations [with the ICC].”
However, the scope of any further negotiations, the source pointed out, were remote. “He [Manohar] would still want to negotiate with the BCCI, but would he take it beyond $390 million? Questionable.”
One other interested party, which could play the catalyst, is the CoA. It has been keeping a close watch on the events in Dubai this week. Any decision taken by the BCCI office bearers would need to be conveyed to the CoA, which would need to approve anything that is sent in writing to the ICC as per the court order. “The CoA can step in, but it will only step in also at $445 million,” the official said.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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