Former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly is set to be the next president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The first item in his in-tray may be a clash with the International Cricket Council over proposed changes to the international fixtures calendar.
Ganguly was the only candidate to file a nomination for president by yesterday’s deadline and is set to be elected unopposed at a vote on October 23. The 47-year-old told local media: “I’m happy… To be in a position where I can make a difference is extremely satisfying… We have a lot of things to do, hope we can put the house in order.”
One of the first issues on Ganguly’s agenda is the ICC’s five-year Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the 2023-28 period. The FTP is a calendar prepared by the ICC and member countries. Among the changes reported to be under consideration in the new programme are a T20 World Cup every year, compared to every two years at present, and playing the 50-over World Cup every three years instead of every four.
According to the New Indian Express, the changes were proposed at a recent ICC chief executives meeting, after which BCCI chief executive officer Rahul Johri emailed his ICC counterpart Manu Sawhney to say the Indian board was not ready to endorse them.
The website reports that one of the BCCI’s big concerns is that the new FTP will mean the ICC coming to market with an expanded media rights package that could encourage big spending by Indian broadcasters, leaving them with less to spend on BCCI rights. It quoted a BCCI source as saying: “For example, Star Sports or Sony (hypothetically) has a budget of Rs100 for investment in broadcast rights (TV, radio, digital). There are two big players: ICC and BCCI, with their bouquet of events. BCCI has IPL and its marquee home bilateral series (without Pakistan). A World T20 every year is an enticing proposal and if ICC enters the market first, a major player would be thinking of exhausting the lion’s share of broadcast budget in buying ICC rights.
“If the broadcaster spends Rs60 on buying ICC rights for 2023-28 period, then when BCCI enters the market, the company will have maybe Rs40 in its pocket. I see it as an attempt to attack BCCI’s revenue stream. It’s up to Ganguly to deal with this issue.”
The BCCI is also said to have other concerns about the FTP proposal, including the amount of time it has to consider it and the impact on player workload.