Calcutta: With a view to bringing both the cricket and commercial operations under one roof, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has initiated moves to look at the feasibility of shifting from London and Lord’s.
While everything related to the game itself is run from London, the commercial operations are exclusively handled from Monaco — obviously, this arrangement is driven by tax considerations.
The ICC began zeroing in on options after a “discussion” during last month’s Executive Board meeting in Auckland. A “paper”, it seems, is going to be circulated during the AGM in June.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, who requested anonymity, the possibility of relocating to Asia is “reasonably strong.” One understands Dubai, Kuala Lumpur — where, incidentally, the Asian Cricket Council is headquartered — and Singapore are on the shortlist.
Apparently, Switzerland is also a ‘contender’ as is Monaco, which has high ambitions. The sources, though, pointed out that the ICC “wasn’t” thinking of shifting to another Test-playing nation. Had that been so, relocating to India — where a huge chunk of the money is — would be logical.
Significantly, the “tax structure” of the contenders will be “assessed” before a recommendation is made by ICC president Ehsan Mani and chief executive Malcolm Speed. Both, by the way, are going to visit the shortlisted countries/Emirate in the next few weeks.
In an interesting development, the British government has indicated it wants a “dialogue” once word got around that the ICC was looking at moving from London, where it has been headquartered for all 95 years of its existence.
“The ICC has no reservations about interacting with the (British) government... In any case, no decision has been taken to actually shift,” the sources added.
There will, of course, be sentimental pulls and pressures if cricket’s governing body does decide to relocate. Lord’s, after all, has a sizeable band of faithfuls — it’s unlikely that any recasting of history is going to be quietly watched from beyond the boundary.