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BCCI softens threat of India's Champions Trophy pullout

The BCCI's acting secretary said that no decision has been taken regarding participation in the Champions Trophy as of now.

ICC Cricket
The ICC is expected to roll back the existing revenue model during the meeting in Duabi later this month

What’s the story? 

BCCI’s acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary denied reports that the board could force the Indian cricket team to pull out of the upcoming Champions Trophy event in June due to its dispute with the ICC over the revenue-sharing model.

The BCCI is not favour of the governing body’s plans to shift from the existing ‘Big Three’ model which sees India, England and Australia get a major chunk of the revenues to a system which will see the income generated from the sport being distributed on a wider scale among the member nations. 

Responding to media reports that surfaced following the BCCI’s two-hour long Special General Meeting (SGM) on Wednesday, Choudhary, who along with Rahul Johri, will represent the BCCI at the ICC meeting in Dubai later this month, claimed that he would be approaching the meeting with an open mind and that any decision moving forward would be based on the outcome of the meeting.

“Ideally we would want ICC to accept our proposal and defer a decision on the financial structure till June,” he said. “But if that does not happen, whatever decision we take will be keeping in mind the best interest of the BCCI and Indian cricket.”

Denying reports of a pullout, he added, “Too early to speculate on those lines. We have taken the decision at the SGM to ask the ICC to continue with the current model till June and that is all I would like to comment on at present.”

Extra Cover: Supreme Court bars N Srinivasan from representing BCCI in ICC meetings

In case you didn’t know...

It was during former BCCI president N Srinivasan’s reign in 2014 that the Big Three revenue model was introduced by the ICC which meant that the cricket boards of India, England and Australia get to pocket the lion’s share of ICC revenues as they brought in maximum revenue to the governing body. 

Shashank Manohar, the first independent chairman of the ICC, however, was not in favour of the model and has been aiming at a rollback ever since he took over the reigns in November 2015. Despite stepping down from his post in March following a lengthy power tussle with the BCCI, the ICC is expected to carry forward Manohar’s plans as it feels the lesser nations at a huge financial disadvantage under the present scenario. 

The heart of the matter

The ICC is set to meet in Dubai from April 24 to 27 where a decision regarding the revenue model is set to be taken but the BCCI is of the opinion that the present scenario should prevail until at least June during which the Champions Trophy event will be held in England. 

An attempt to defer the decision saw no takers as the ICC’s Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) meet held in the month of February agreed in principle to change the existing model and only the finer details are expected to be worked out later this month in Dubai. 

Choudhary has however made it clear that he will still try to persuade the ICC to let things be as it is as he feels the BCCI is well within their right to seek an extra share of revenue considering their huge market share. He has minced no words with regards to what he expects from the ICC and a pullout could still very much be on. 

Extra Cover: ICC set to enforce radical changes to all three cricket formats

What’s next?

Despite his various run-ins with various BCCI officials Vinod Rai, the chief of the Supreme Court-appointed BCCI Committee of Administrators (CoA), has made it pretty clear that he fully stands behind the BCCI’s assertion that they are entitled to a lion’s share of the revenues generated from the sport. 

Though he denied any chance of India’s pullout from the Champions Trophy in February, it would be interesting to see how he responds once the ICC, as expected, makes changes to the existing revenue model. 

Author's take

With the ICC meet in Dubai less than a week away now, the BCCI's lengthy tussle with the ICC is set to witness a major landmark over the decision on revenue distribution. While the BCCI seems powerless to stop the sweeping changes proposed by the governing body, it would be very unfair for the sport's fans to see one of the major nations missing from an ICC event.

We will have to wait and see whether the situation progress to such an extent but I hope that all parties can agree to a compromise where they get a fair deal. 

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