Cricket’s world body yesterday passed a wide-ranging and controversial shake-up of its governance and structure despite strident protests that it gives too much power to the “Big Three” of India, England and Australia.
The dominant trio seemed to be the big winners after the proposals were approved by the necessary eight out of 10 full members at a hastily convened International Cricket Council (ICC) board meeting in Singapore.
Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa had all opposed the revamp when it was debated last month, but South Africa’s Chris Nenzani voted in favor at yesterday’s meeting. Sri Lanka and Pakistan abstained.
In the revamped ICC, India — which contributes 80 percent of global revenues — and fellow powerhouses England and Australia will have permanent seats on a new, five-member executive committee.
The committee will make recommendations to the decision-making body, the ICC board, which is to be chaired by India’s N. Srinivasan from the middle of this year.
Revenues will be distributed according to countries’ contributions — financial, sporting and historical — but the seven non-“Big Three” members will be boosted by a new Test Cricket Fund.
The Future Tours Program, designed to guarantee series for all Test teams, will be changed with a series of binding, bilateral agreements between members.
And the World Test Championship, which was due to debut in 2017, has been scrapped, with the one-day Champions Trophy continuing in 2017 and 2021. The Test championship was deemed unworkable, a statement said.
The representatives of South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka did not give details about their positions as they left the meeting, although Sri Lanka’s Nishantha Ranatunga said he would hold discussions with his board.
The approval came as some surprise, given the loud opposition which has erupted in the cricketing community to the original proposals made by the three influential countries.
Ahead of the meeting, a leaked document detailed South Africa’s reaction to the original proposal, which it called “extremely disappointing and indeed hurtful when originating from three great cricketing nations.”
Pakistan great Imran Khan said the plan smacked of colonialism, while Lord Harry Woolf, author of a report which urged greater distribution of power at the ICC, called it “alarming” and “entirely motivated by money.”
“I don’t see how, if we had this to consider, we could see it as anything but a retrograde step,” Woolf told Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
“It is giving extraordinary powers to a small triumvirate of three people and everybody else has got no power to say anything or do anything,” the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales said.
Anti-corruption group Transparency International expressed “serious concern.”