A potential “takeover” by the top performing partner nations has emerged ahead of three coveted associate member seats that will be up for grabs in next month’s all-important Committee of Executive Directors (CEC) election.
During an informal meeting of associate representatives on June 8, there was a discussion about the possibility of changes of government in the constitution of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Associate members comprise 92 cricket nations at the bottom tier to the elite 12 full-fledged members in the sport’s archaic tier system. These top 10 performing partner nations are the US, Scotland, the Netherlands, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Namibia, Canada, and Hong Kong.
According to sources, these countries want “their voice to be heard at the ICC” and “duly represented” on the board and the CEC.
There are currently three associate members each on the board and in the CEC, but none of them are from these 10 nations.
This so-called high-performance group says, according to sources, that they “play an important role in the growth and development of cricket globally … the interests of this important group are therefore not directly understood or represented within the governance of the ICC “. “.
They fear that the current equal voting structure among Associates is skewed against them and that there is a “bias” towards the best performing countries. Rectify that they want 50% of the representations available to the Associate members in the board of directors and the CEC.
They want a board and two CEC seats reserved for an associate member with ODI status.
Tony Brian from Scotland lost his seat on the board in last December’s elections, while Pankaj Khimji from Oman and USA Representative Cricket Sushil Nadkarni ran unsuccessfully.
In a CEC by-election in April, Uganda’s Bashir Ansasiira stunned then-Dutch President Betty Timmer in a close contest.
“It is still very early in the discussion, but the main Associates believe that their voice does not reach the ICC and they feel entitled to that given their level of contribution as the main Associate nations,” a source familiar with the discussions told me. .
Although the discussion was described as “emotional,” there was a belief that it would not create divisions among Associates, where relationships between such varied backgrounds can be divisive.
“Don’t think there will be a breakup. No one is throwing cakes at anyone, ”a source told me.
Brian, who according to sources has been a driving force behind this push, declined to comment specifically on such proposals, but told me that “there are many contributions and ideas for governance at the ICC and we hope they will be examined by a review group. of governance ”.
With the board divided, as evidenced by a controversial election for president last year, there are many disputes over who holds these very important positions with resolutions requiring a 2/3 majority, that is, 12 of 17 votes, to pass.
“It is a takeover of these nations and there are some suspicions about their motives,” a source told me.
No change to the constitution seems imminent, but it all adds to the intrigue over the upcoming CEC elections, which will take place during the ICC General Assembly in mid-July.
The CEC is supposed to promote and develop cricket around the world, while governing and regulating the sport internationally. Being on it is highly coveted by associate chiefs, who may mix it up with the top bosses of full members, and the CEC is often seen as a stepping stone to entry to the ICC board of directors, where real power resides in global cricket.
Starters Ansasiira, Mark Stafford from Vanuatu and Sumod Damodar from Botswana have confirmed to me that they will take the test again. Who else will race is unknown, although highly rated Emirates Cricket Board chief Mubashshir Usmani is considered a strong contender.
There is likely to be a strong field of candidates although, in the shadow of the ICC, the election process is not yet known. It is likely to follow the recent board and CEC elections, where the contest was conducted using a secret ‘weighted’ voting system, involving voters of 40 associate members and five regional representatives (Americas, Asia , Europe, East Asia and the Pacific and Africa) each selecting three candidates in order of preference.
Newly elected CEC members receive two-year terms.
Ansasiira, who has impressed his peers in his short time in office, said that “proper communication” between the various Associates was vital.
“I want Associates to work together in an effort to add value to the ICC, so that the full members take us more seriously,” he told me.
Damodar, who is running for a third term but has been seen as polarizing due to his outspoken personality, said Associates were often viewed as a “cost center and not a revenue center.” I believed there were Associate tournaments that could generate income.
“There could be continental T20 competitions, where, for example, African member nations play against each other and then at the end, the top eleven players are selected and played with counterparts from other regions,” he said.
Stafford, who failed to fill a board seat last December, believed that T10 cricket, a 90-minute format that has, anecdotally, not sparked enthusiasm among mainstream fans, could develop across the level of Associated.
“The ICC recognizes this, so I don’t think we’re very far (from T10 being an official format),” he said. “The ICC should become the owner of T10 and not miss the opportunity like with T20, where the big leagues like the IPL benefit the franchise holders more than the ICC.”
The campaign will only intensify in the coming weeks, but the fight for more power will last much longer.