Better funding measures required from ICC
Funding surely is a tricky business for ICC members. Barring a handful of about 6 out of 106 members, the rest 100 are solely dependent on ICC funding.
The situation becomes even more critical when we know that 70% of funding is due to 1 country and next 20% is due to 2 countries. Hence funding is dependent on what type of a member a country is (Test, Associate or Affiliate), and additionally for Associates what your performance is [ODI Status (6 Teams), High Performance Program (4 Teams) and Rest]. Besides this, according to the region a member belongs to, the funding is different. There are 5 regions of ICC – Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and East Asia Pacific. Belonging to Asia means most funding and most tournaments as Asia CC gets around half of ICC Development fund and other half is distributed amongst the other 4 regions.
This means a Test nation (10 teams) get roughly $7.5m/year, while the 6 ODI nations get $0.65m, 4 High Performance Programme members get $0.4m, 27 balance Associates get $0.16m and the 59 Affiliates get a miserly $0.015m from ICC. The region funding varies and it mostly covers cost of tournaments.
So, this means a country as big as Indonesia with a population of over 220m gets roughly $30,000 to develop its cricket and take its team for ICC tournaments. It also means that a country like Bermuda with a population with 60,000 and Nepal with a population of 40m get the same funding of $0.1m from ICC.
Also, when an Associate member loses, the performance based funding can have major consequences. When Uganda lost its HPP membership, it meant Uganda Cricket Association had to end central contracts with its teams as it could no longer afford it. And this happened when Uganda lost a match to PNG by just 1 run and that run cost them roughly $240,000 and an entire team’s salary.
If we try to understand why ICC formed such funding, it was because in the last 15 years only they expanded and tripled their membership. At that time, they were for a standardised approach for membership as it did not have expertise to manage the critical aspect of funding.
On top of that, as cricket is not an Olympics sport, governments are not interesting in funding the sport.
ICC has recently made some changes. From 2013, Associate members, instead of the fixed $0.16m, will start getting $0.1m fixed amount and rest based on performance. The ICC also has formed a TAPP funding where based on need as presented by various members, funds will be distributed. Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands have got $1.5m for 3 years based on this funding.
However now the time has come for a complete restructuring of ICC’s funding. The funding should be based on a certain criteria so that the development can be carried out in a much more sustainable way. The ICC needs to take care of a few points:
1. Performance of board
ICC needs to define performance parameters for all its members like school and junior cricket participation, transparency in operations and money, government support, domestic cricket tournaments and scorecard for each of the boards. The more the score of these boards, more the ICC level of funding. This will means boards taking much more long term sustainable steps.
2. Population and area of countries
Population and area of a country have a deep impact of how funding can be utilised by that nation’s board. USA and Bermuda may be both Associate members but logically shouldn’t be getting the same funding (as is the case today). USA is a huge country with a population of 315m and 9m sq km area while Bermuda has just 0.06m population. So definitely these factors need to be considered while funding is given.
3. Performance of team
The better the performance of the team, the more exposure ICC needs to get for the team. Hence, Ireland should be given a chance to play more Test teams or their A-teams and also go for a sustainable domestic first class tournaments.
The better teams need that extra thrust to make them more self sustaining for future and in long term, ICC should release more money for the next level of upcoming teams.
4. Parachuted funding
In the case of Uganda, when they lost HPP membership, the whole team was out of central contracts. When a team is in its bad days, the funding should go out in parachuted ways. Uganda, which lost funding from $0.4m to $0.16m in 1 year, should have got the cut over a 3 year span. That way, the board can plan for a comeback. Now it became a double blow – the loss of membership and also the funding.
5. Full members to be brought in the funding plan
Presently all the funding rules are applicable only for Associate and Affiliate members. ICC should make the whole structure more open, where if Ireland perform well they should be able to play Test Matches and Zimbabwe may lose out. Also, the huge difference in funding from $7.5m to $0.6m should be reduced.
Yes, ICC will need to support the full members for playing Test matches but this should not mean a 12.5 times difference in funding. ICC should be transparent in why and how funding is done for each member.
Most of these things were covered by Woolf’s report. ICC, instead of even discussing it, has pushed it aside. If ICC has to move with times, it will need to come out of the colonial elite mindset and in sync with modern methods. Hoping for the best!