Cricket Australia chairman hits back at criticism of ICC reform proposal

The debate over the future direction of the governance of world cricket has intensified after Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Wally Edwards moved to address criticism that the governing body, along with its counterparts in England and India, is seeking too much power in the sport.

A draft proposal being considered by the International Cricket Council (ICC) would give the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and CA greater power in running the sport. On Monday, it emerged that a working group of the ICC's Finance & Commercial Affairs Committee had put forward a plan for the ECB, BCCI and CA to become the central figures for major decision-making both on and off the field. A 21-page ‘position paper’ is said to have been issued to full ICC members earlier this month and the matter is set to be discussed at an ICC executive board meeting on January 28-29.

Cricket South Africa has already hit out at the plans, calling them “in breach of the ICC constitution,” while the Pakistan Cricket Board is also understood to be vehemently opposed to the proposal. Players’ body the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) has now joined the chorus of disapproval, claiming the plans would only to serve to enhance Australia, England and India’s dominance of the off-the-pitch running of the sport, while weakening other nations.

Edwards, the first senior figure from either CA, the ECB or BCCI to go public on the subject, said in a statement issued by Cricket Australia: “Traditionally, CA does not comment on ICC discussions it is about to have – we talk to other ICC nations across the table rather than via the media. But we were today disappointed to see FICA question whether CA and others have met their fiduciary duties as ICC members. Setting aside the fact that we are yet to discuss and vote, CA’s approach internationally is consistent with its approach at home where we have made significant strides improving the governance of Australian cricket.”

If approved, the proposed changes to the ICC would see CA, the ECB and BCCI form an executive committee that would effectively be responsible for all ICC decision making. A change to the revenue distribution model would also see each of the so-called 'big three' increase their share. FICA chairman Paul Marsh said: “After reviewing the working group's proposal, the FICA board and our members are extremely concerned about the future of international cricket.”

He continued: “This proposal is designed to vest control of the game in the three boards of India, Australia and England. It is not in the best interests of the global game and we have real fears that it will only serve to strengthen the 'big three' countries whilst the rest are left to wither on the vine. The game deserves far better than this and all within FICA call on the other seven ICC board members to reject this proposal at next week's board meeting. The future of the game depends on them doing so.”