Will India opt out of 2017 Champions Trophy?

The Board of Control for Cricket in India may yet again flex its financial muscle. To protect its interest and reign in International Cricket Council. To obstruct ICC’s proposed reforms that will reduce India’s revenue share and clout in global cricket.

There are strong hints that a threat to pull out of the Champions Trophy could be discussed at BCCI’s Special General Meeting takes place on Tuesday in New Delhi. The Champions Trophy is scheduled to be held in England from June 1-18, 2017.

The BCCI has been annoyed with several latest developments, including the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) proposal of a two-tier Test structure and the decision to disband the ‘Big Three’ reforms, which allowed India to have the biggest pie amongst all cricket playing nations – in the revenue sharing model. The latest snub came in the form of BCCI’s exclusion from the ICC’s finance committee meeting, which was held a few days ago at the body’s headquarters in Dubai.

While ICC’s moves haven’t found favour with the BCCI, the Indian cricket board’s chief grouse is that it doesn’t have any say despite being one of the biggest fund raisers for the apex organisation. “When 70 per cent of the ICC’s income comes from the BCCI, why should we not have a place in the finance committee? There’s no question of domination, but is the ICC trying to be a Robin Hood — robbing the rich and giving it to the poor?” Indian Express has quoted a BCCI office-bearer as saying.

The BCCI had recently complained about the ICC’s decision to allocate $135 million as expenses for the upcoming 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and compared it with the $45 million that was allocated to the Indian board for the recently concluded 2016 Men and Women’s ICC World Twenty20, thereby questioning the logic for the three-fold increase in budgetary allocations for the Champions Trophy.

While the revenue sharing model has left the BCCI bitter, it has also joined five other Test playing nations in opposing the proposed two-tier Test structure, an ICC move that reportedly found favour with 72% of the players, according to a poll conducted by the Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA).

BCCI has reiterated its opposition and has said that such a system will lead to smaller countries losing out.

With the Supreme Court allowing Amitabh Chaudhary to attend ICC meeting, the Board members may discuss using a clause in ICC broadcast rights which guarantees the higher tournament revenues to various boards only if India participates.

Acting BCCI president CK Khanna, however said, “Our top agenda was to discuss BCCI representative to ICC, but since the Supreme Court has appointed Amitabh Chaudhary, we will discuss other issues which pertain to BCCI’s financial and legal matters,” says a Hindustan Times report.

N Srinivasan has been declared ineligible by the Supreme Court to attend the ICC meeting but there is no clarity yet if he will attend Tuesday’s meeting. “I don’t think there is anything that stops me from attending the SGM. But since you are asking me whether I am attending tomorrow’s SGM, it is because you want a headline. You won’t get it from me,” Srinivasan was quoted as saying to PTI.