The fate of India’s participation in the Champions Trophy will now be decided on May 7 in New Delhi.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has convened its Special General Meeting (SGM) to discuss the humiliation meted out to their board during the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting that concluded here on Thursday. The BCCI were out-voted on governance structure and revenue model, despite India being the highest revenue earner for the ICC.
The BCCI members wanted the SGM to be held on May 12 but Vinod Rai, chairman of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by the Supreme Court of India, felt that date was too late.
He proposed that the SGM meeting should be held on May 5 or 7 and that a final decision on India’s participation in the Champions Trophy should be announced.
The BCCI is also keen to discuss ICC chairman Shashank Manohar’s offer of an extra $100 million, over and above the $290 million which has been offered as per the new revenue allocation.
This offer will bring BCCI’s share close to $400 million but some of the BCCI officials feel that they should get $450 million.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who are the hosts of the Champions Trophy, will be badly hit if India goes ahead with its plan to pull out of the event.
The BCCI now wants ECB President Giles Clarke, who was also responsible in drawing up the new model and constitution, to put pressure on ICC to accept India’s demands. All the tickets for the India’s games in the Champions Trophy have been sold out and an Indian team pullout can result in huge financial loss for ECB.
Though some of the nations that voted against India are busy planning a move to stop India from staying away from the Champions Trophy by threatening to pull out the foreign players in the ongoing Indian Premier League, the BCCI is not likely to be affected by such threat.
BCCI believes that with their financial clout can lure top foreign players to continue playing in the IPL, forcing them to ignore their nation’s request.
Star Sports, official broadcasters of the Champions Trophy, are keeping a close watch on the situation and will react strongly in case of a pullout as it can result in a huge fall in TV revenue due to an expected slump in the number of viewers.
A section of the BCCI officials want the Indian selectors to announce the team so that the selected players can be mentally prepared.
Even if the team is announced the squad can still pull out of the tournament if the SGM votes against participation.
Interestingly, if India pulls out, another team will have to be found and given time to prepare for the event.
Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has stated that India is within its rights to invoke the Members’ Participation Agreement (MPA) and pull out of the Champions Trophy. “The thing is if the 2014 model has been overlooked, maybe you can overlook the 2017 model also in a couple of months. That is also entirely possible because in this world of constantly changing loyalties and constant changing friends, anything can happen,” Gavaskar remarked to a TV channel.