ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Why India have not announced their squad for the tournament
BCCI's financial tussle with ICC has raised uncertainty on India's participation in CT.
The 2017 edition of the Champions Trophy is set to begin from June 1. While the other seven participating nations have announced their squads, India is the only country to not meet the deadline of April 25 for submitting the squads.
The major reason behind the delay is an uncertainty regarding their participation in the tournament. With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) embroiled in a financial tussle against the International Cricket Council (ICC), there is serious talk within their circles about withdrawing the Indian side from the competition after the outcome of the all-important meeting on Wednesday.
Even though BCCI stated ‘operational’ reasons for not submitting India’s squad for the Champions Trophy, the bone of contention pertains to the revamped financial model. With the controversial ‘Big Three’ formula scrapped for a more balanced structure, they stand to lose around $277 million in revenue.
In a massive development in Dubai, BCCI were outvoted by a massive margin of 9-1. Apart from the Indian board, all the other nine Full Members voted in favour of the new financial model which guarantees a sizeable share to the emerging nations like Afghanistan and Ireland.
Ironically, the man who orchestrated the ambush was a former BCCI President. The changes brought about by current ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar could see a massive shift in the game’s administrational power play.
However, the 59-year old from Nagpur has also proposed a compensatory offer in order to find a middle ground. If they accept his offer, BCCI can gain $100 million and take their overall revenue to around $393 million. With India’s participation in the Champions Trophy at stake, the move is widely seen as a pragmatic one to ultimately benefit everyone involved.
Can India pull out of the Champions Trophy?
Similar to the other seven teams, India have also signed the Members Participation Agreement (MPA) which has the power to lead to legal ramifications. It is pertinent to note that the Supreme Court has given the final authority to backtrack on such matters only to the Committee of Administrators (CoA). According to various sources, BCCI’s office-bearers are the one who are understood to be considering such a drastic option.
According to clause 6.4 (c) of the MPA, a team can withdraw from the tournament “If there are any material changes that are materially adverse to Member to (i) the structure of the Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee of the IDI Board; (ii) the structure of the Executive Committee of the ICC Board; (iii) the membership of (i.e. the ICC Members represented on) the Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee of the IDI Board or the Executive Committee of the ICC Board; or (iv) the percentage of "Contribution Costs" of IDI receivable by Member as approved by the IDI Board.”
Interestingly, the April 25 deadline for submitting the squads is not a final one by any means. There are no penalties for failing to meet the aforementioned date. Also, teams have requested and consequently been granted extensions by the ICC in the past.
Even though BCCI have not indicated on the possibility of such a move, they can still exercise the option after considering all possibilities in the upcoming Special General Meeting (SGM). As such, there are two options for them to bring an end to the imbroglio.
While accepting Manohar’s $100 million compensatory offer should be the best outcome for all parties involved, they can also reject the deal and complicate the situation further. In case of the latter, a long drawn legal battle appears to be the immediate consequence.
It remains to be seen if the BCCI members get the internal consensus and pull India out of the Champions Trophy. Speaking to India Today, a CoA source shed light into the impact caused by the entire scenario on the Indian players.
He revealed, “A number of Indian cricketers are ringing us up to ask, 'Are we going or not?' Why do we need to put them in such a situation? The consequences of such a move (pull out) will be legal. We may have to cough up a heavy figure. Besides it will give Indian cricket a bad name.
”Indian cricket is doing very well on the field. We need to showcase them not (boycott the tournament). If we don't go what will the players do in June? Let's not get them demoralised.”
For the sake of the Indian players and those ardent supporters of the side, we sincerely hope that sanity prevails and BCCI bring an amicable end to the crisis. If they decide to withdraw the team from the Champions Trophy, both the country and the game of cricket will be the vanquished.