ICC ‘sanctity’ shield
Various leaks in the media regarding the fate of the World T20 in Australia and its subsequent rescheduling has forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to initiate an “independent investigation” and defer its board meeting to June 10.
Outgoing ICC chairman Shashank Manohar brought up the topic during the meeting, via teleconference on Thursday, and was supported by other members on the board. It was decided to resolve this issue first and then focus on the imminent postponement of the World T20 scheduled in October-November.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was represented by its president, Sourav Ganguly, at the teleconference.
“This was also an opportunity for the powers-that-be in the ICC to buy time and deviate focus from the issues that are plaguing the game right now. If the World T20 can’t be held in Australia this year, the decision should be taken at the earliest to avoid escalation of costs.
“The organising committee that is functional in Australia should immediately be dissolved. Instead of dithering over issues, we should arrive at a decision quickly,” a source told The Telegraph.
The ICC, in its media release, said the board wanted to “ensure the sanctity and confidentiality of board matters”.
“The ICC board met via teleconference today with all agenda items deferred until 10 June 2020 following a discussion, led by chairman Shashank Manohar, around the issue of confidentiality,” the ICC said in its statement.
“A number of board members had raised their concerns over this issue recently and felt it required immediate attention to ensure the sanctity and confidentiality of board matters in line with the highest standards of governance.
“There was unanimous agreement to immediately initiate an independent investigation led by the ICC’s ethics officer and supported by global experts. The board will be updated on this by the ICC CEO at its next meeting on 10 June 2020.
“The board also requested the ICC management to continue with their discussions with stakeholders in exploring various contingency options in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the Covid-19 virus,” the ICC statement said.
Sources revealed that finding a right window to reschedule the World Cup was another reason behind deferring the meeting. Alternative options had been drawn up at a meeting of the Finance & Commercial Affairs (F&CA) Committee but there was no consensus on that with the BCCI reportedly unwilling to budge from its stance of hosting the 2021 edition.
Among the options that are being discussed include slotting the tournament in February-March 2021 or rescheduling it to 2022 with India retaining the rights to the 2021 edition.
It was learnt that the Pakistan Cricket Board has strongly objected to postponing the tournament right now. Their logic has been that with five months remaining, nothing should be done in haste.
Cricket Australia, while announcing their summer schedule on Thursday, has kept the window from October 18 to November 15 open for the T20 World Cup. In fact, a T20I series against India has been planned as a warm-up to the world event.
There’s also no consensus yet on the time of hosting the tournament in 2022 — February-March or October-November. The broadcasters’ views will also be important since they will want enough gap between two editions.
The unresolved tax exemption issue over the 2021 T20 World Cup and the 2023 ODI World Cup in India has also been a recurring problem. For the ICC it’s a requirement as per the host agreement signed by all parties in 2015.
A dispute arising out of tax liabilities during the 2016 World T20 in India, amounting to $23.7m, is pending before the ICC disputes resolution committee.
The BCCI’s file is with the finance ministry which has sought time citing the lockdown. The deadline for intimating the ICC in this regard expired in December 2019.