CSA rejects talk of BCCI deal over ICC reform

The Cricket South Africa (CSA) governing body has rejected reports that it is seeking an agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to return its chief executive Haroon Lorgat to a powerful role in the world game in exchange for backing reform proposals for the International Cricket Council (ICC) put forward by the sport’s three main boards.

Lorgat served as chief executive of the ICC until his four-year term ended in 2012. However, the ESPN Cricinfo website said CSA was seeking to broker an agreement with the BCCI to return Lorgat to power. The two national boards have been at odds since Lorgat’s appointment at CSA, and the South African body had initially opposed the contentious ICC reforms put forward by the BCCI, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA).

Responding to the report, CSA president Chris Nenzani said: “While we are engaged in discussions with the ICC and other members, including the BCCI, to find an acceptable way forward, we have not and will not consider deals that compromise our key principles and integrity. This is a difficult time for global cricket and attempts to mislead and create confusion are not welcome. CSA vehemently denies any notion of deals being made with any other party. We have carefully considered the (reform) proposals and we have declared that we will engage further with the ICC and other members to try and reach any consensus ahead of Saturday’s ICC board meeting and that position still stands.”

The future direction of the ICC has been the subject of much debate of late. The global governing body last week announced “unanimous support” for a set of principles relating to the future structure, governance and financial models of the organisation after an initial reform proposal backed by the Indian, English and Australian boards was not taken to a vote. The ICC said that there was “recognition” of the need for strong leadership of the body, involving leading members, which will involve the BCCI taking a central role.

The ICC added that there will be an opportunity for all members to play all formats of cricket on merit, with participation based on meritocracy; no immunity to any country, and no change to membership status. A Test Cricket Fund paid equally on an annual basis to all full members, with the exception of the BCCI, CA and the ECB, would be introduced to “encourage and support” the longest form of the game. However, it has been proposed that the varying contribution of full members to the value of ICC events be recognised through the payment of ‘contribution costs’.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s ICC board meeting in Singapore, ECB chairman Giles Clarke today (Tuesday) reiterated his claim that change is needed and rejected suggestions that placing greater power in the hands of the ECB, BCCI and CA would only result in further bolstering the positions of the three boards. “If anyone thinks that international cricket was working, well they are mistaken,” Clarke told the ECB’s official website. “Firstly, everyone was saying that there was a need for change at the ICC in terms of how it was run and the revenue share. That has been achieved. Secondly, if the status quo was so successful, why were so many countries in a perilous financial state? We hope that the new proposals provide the ICC with a new energy and direction and also countries with greater financial security.”

He added: “All countries earn more through this proposal. No one doubts that India's contribution to world cricket is extremely important and that should be recognised. However, it was interesting to see that both West Indies and New Zealand were quick to point out the advantages to them. West Indies said that they were expecting a rise of 100 per cent in income. No member would earn less and if our predictions are correct most will earn an awful lot more. How can that be bad for cricket?”