ICC powerless to help in dispute

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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The International Cricket Council has admitted it “does not have the power to intervene” in the high-stakes dispute between the West Indies Cricket Board and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The very future of the West Indies national side is up in the air following the squad’s premature abandonment of their three-format tour of India – a momentous decision that led to the BCCI initiating legal action against the WICB and suspending all future tour agreements between the teams.

With the financial fragility of the WICB – particularly compared to the commercial behemoth that is Indian cricket – either a multi-million dollar claim for damages or the loss in revenue associated with Indian visits could effectively bury the West Indies as a going concern.

But as a result of a controversial governance restructure earlier this year – when the boards of India, England and Australia effectively seized executive control – the ICC has no jurisdiction over the future tours programme.

As a result, the ICC confirmed on Wednesday that despite concerns over the row – which is rooted in an internal payment dispute between the Windies squad, their players’ association WIPA and the WICB – they have no formal powers of mediation.

A statement released to Press Association Sport read: “The International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Wednesday it was concerned with the dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), and was closely monitoring the developments arising from the recently cancelled tour of India.

“The ICC hopes that the matter will be resolved amicably, but clarified that, unless the matter is otherwise referred to it, it does not have the power to intervene in disputes resulting from a bilateral FTP tour.

“The ICC added that the matter will be discussed at the ICC Board meeting, which is scheduled for 10 November in Dubai. Until then, the ICC will make no further comment on this matter.”

All the major parties involved have now had their say on the calamitous cancellation of the Windies trip, which came after the fourth one-day international leaving one further ODI, one Twenty20 and three Test matches unfulfilled.

Yet there is little by way of unanimity thus far.

The BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel on Tuesday put his name to a statement that promised legal action – and a potential damages claim in the region of £37million, based on lost commercial revenues – and also put on ice any future series between the teams.

India had been slated to visit the islanders four times in the next eight-year cycle, tours which are by a distance the most financially appealing in world cricket.

For their own part, the WICB have made their best stab at conciliation.

Following a lengthy emergency meeting in Barbados on Tuesday evening, the executive board released a humbly-worded statement which reiterated an earlier apology to the BCCI, stakeholders and as cricket fans in both territories.

It also acknowledged the perilous position West Indian cricket is in and the make-or-break ability India has to push it over the precipice.

The WICB has requested a formal meeting with its counterparts, aimed at restoring relations and taking into account “the serious implications for West Indies criclket” of any hard-line stance.

Behind the scenes work will also continue to resolve at last the contract dispute that has caused the current problems.

The national squad remain deeply unhappy about the way WIPA and the WICB have treated them in previous negotiations and with a World Cup looming into view in the new year, not to mention a highly profitable Test tour by England in April, a functioning team is a must.

Without it, financial oblivion and the end of West Indian cricket in its current form is a step closer to reality.

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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