‘Quitting Champions Trophy only option for India’


 

It is now or never. International Cricket Council financial resolution has pushed the Board of Control for Cricket in India to the wall. Left alone in the numbers game during voting on resolution, the BCCI is left to battle it out all alone, now. The 1-9 defeat during the revised revenue model voting at the ICC Board Meeting in Dubai confirms India has lost its clout in the vote bank politics of global cricket. The richest cricket board in the world still has financial power to flex its muscles.

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BCCI will require a strong decision to protect its position and interest. That is the opinion building up among the top brass, which ran country’s cricketing affairs before the Supreme Court passed the BCCI governance to the Committee of Administrators. “If you don’t act now, you will never be able to protect your interests,” says a senior erstwhile BCCI official, who is still running his State body.

CALL TO QUIT CHAMPIONS TROPHY

“Quit Champions Trophy. That is the only option left before the BCCI. They might have isolated India in the board room. No power in world cricket can survive without India and Indian money,” says the official on condition of anonymity. “You have a legal right to not to participate in the ICC Champions Trophy, if Members Participation Agreement terms are violated or alerted. (N) Srinivasan is an intelligent administrator. He knew this will happen. He has kept this provisions to protect Indian interest. ICC cannot penalize you for not playing in the Champions Trophy,” adds the veteran cricket administrator.

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However, such a strong step may hurt India’s prospect more than just not participating in the Champions Trophy. The BCCI, if resolves to this extreme measure, can be out of all ICC event till 2023. That will also include the 2023 World Cup that is to be hosted by India.

“You worry for 2023. The world cricket can’t even get into 2018 without Indian money. Where does ICC gets money from? Media rights. You see global rights. See the values when India plays and when India does not play. Who else gives money to cricket? Sponsors. Where are the sponsors? In India,” says the former administrator, strongly advocating that India must quit champions trophy.

BROADCASTER A WORRIED LOT

ICC media rights for the 2015-2023 cycle are jointly acquired by STAR India and STAR Middle East. The total rights value for the eight year period, involving two ICC World Cups, Two T-20 World Championships and as many ICC Champions Trophy events, stands at US$ 2.1 billion. Half these numbers are matched for the territory of India. This value becomes zero if India does not participate in a tournament. ICC will face more pressure from the host broadcaster if India is out of action.

STAR must be anxious and keeping an eye on the whole situation. “Player and the sport suffer the most when the most competitive side decides to quit. But, it’s STAR TV that will be most worried right now. The broadcaster is out in the market to sell inventories. The sponsors won’t commit if they see no certainty. Why should a sponsor come on board if India’s participation is not guaranteed in a cricketing event. Champions Trophy starts on June 1. India technically has a time till May 5 to announce the squad. But if broadcaster doesn’t get a decent window for sponsorship sales, values will decline. ICC cannot afford to annoy its broadcaster. Even ICC’s central sponsorship values will take a hit,” says Ashish Chadha, media rights syndication veteran and chief executive, Sporty Solutionz.

Former CAG Vinod Rai, the chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed committee of administrators, was disappointed at the ICC snub. He will permit the BCCI members to call an SGM to decide on the next step. However, as per the Supreme Court directive the final decision on matters involving legal repercussions shall rest with the CoA. The body is bound to face flak for its failure to protect India’s interests in the ICC. It won’t like to play soft, now. The former CAG is the master of the financial numbers game. He knows the best that how the ICC reforms, if implemented, will hit the BCCI balance sheets.

BEST VALUE LIES IN INDIA

Champion Trophy values contribute to approximately 20% of the 2015-2023 cycle fee of US$ 2.1 billion. The best 45% comes from ICC World Cup and 35% from the T-20 World Championships. Indian market contributes to almost 50% of all these values. Add to this the on-ground sponsorships, ICC central sponsorships. India happens to be the biggest consumer market for the cricket world. Global brands pump money into cricket to grab their share in the Indian market. If India is not playing, the global and Indian investor – the biggest contributors – will have little or no interest in a cricketing event.

India understands the power that has given it the muscle to rule the world cricket. Now, the king is on the verge of dethroned. BCCI would better like to announce the war rather than surrendering its power, position and money meekly. This is the “consensus” among the administrators who have changed fortunes of Indian cricket.

The final decision will emerge from the soon to be called BCCI AGM. The world cricket will wait for the outcome. Anxiously.


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