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ICC board approves controversial reforms

Agence France-Presse . Singapore / New Age Online

The International Cricket Council board Saturday approved wide-ranging structural and governance reforms despite complaints that they place too much power in the hands of the ‘Big Three’ of India, England and Australia.
The proposals were passed after gaining the support of eight of the ICC's 10 full members, with Sri Lanka and Pakistan -- who have both been vocally opposed -- abstaining, a spokesman said.
The package resolution, passed at a meeting in Singapore, includes setting up a five-man executive council with seats reserved for India, England and Australia, the sport's leading financial powers.
And N. Srinivasan of India, which contributes the lion's share of cricket's global revenues, will chair the ICC board from the middle of this year.
‘I think it was a very good meeting, there was general agreement and all very satisfactory,’ said England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke.
South Africa had previously opposed the reforms, which met with virulent opposition after they were debated at a board meeting in Dubai last month.
But South African board member Chris Nenzani was one of the eight to vote in favour at a luxury hotel in Singapore on Saturday. He did not answer questions about the meeting as he left.
Members of the cricket establishment have lined up to criticise the proposals, with Imran Khan calling them ‘colonial’ and Lord Harry Woolf, author of a report into the ICC's governance, saying they were ‘entirely motivated by money’.
The reforms passed on Saturday include setting up a Test Cricket Fund available to all full members except India, England and Australia, and a move to make it easier for other countries to gain Test status.
The proposed World Test Championship, which was due to debut in 2017, has been axed with the Champions Trophy -- an eight-country tournament in the one-day format -- continuing in 2017 and 2021.
‘"It proved impossible to come up with a format for a four-team finals event in Test cricket that fits the culture of Test cricket and preserves the integrity of the format,’ an ICC release said.
And a new financial model will recognise members' contributions in terms of finance, history and on-field performances, a moved aimed at providing ‘long-term certainty of participation’ as they negotiate TV and sponsorship deals.
‘There were eight full members who were in a position to support the resolution today and the two who have abstained have pledged to further discuss the issues with an aim to reaching unanimous approval over the coming weeks,’ said ICC president Alan Isaac.
Sri Lanka's Nishantha Ranatunga told AFP he would now discuss the proposals with his board, while Pakistan representative Zaka Ashraf declined to talk to media.




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