India Entirely Within Rights To Boycott Champions Trophy, Says Sunil Gavaskar
Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar feels that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is within its rights to invoke the Members Participation Agreement (MPA), which was part of the 2014 deal, and mulling on boycotting the Champions Trophy.
The Indian cricket board, on Wednesday (April 26), was outvoted 13-1 (nine Full Members, three Associates and the ICC chairman) as the International Cricket Council approved the finance model which granted the BCCI a share of US $293 million from ICC events until 2023. However, the Indian cricket board, which used to get US $570 million dollars under the ‘Big Three’ formula, is miffed with the whole development and is seriously mulling on giving the upcoming Champions Trophy a miss as an act of defiance.
As per the Big Three model, which was proposed by the then BCCI president N Srinivasan in 2014, three countries – India, England and Australia – was getting the major chunk of ICC’s revenue as they are the major contributors of ICC’s revenues. Srinivasan suggested revenue be divided as per the country’s contribution to ICC’s purse, which meant India was getting 20.3%, England 4.4% and Australia 2.7%.
The Big Three model guaranteed the BCCI the lion’s share of global revenues in addition to giving it a big say in administration alongside the other members (Australia and England) in the 2015-2023 cycle. However, the governing body of the game violated the deal in favour of introducing a new revenue model.
“If they go strictly by the book when the 2014 model came into being, I think with that legal agreement, they are entirely within their rights if they decide to withdraw from the tournament,” Gavaskar told NDTV. “The agreement that was there in 2014 has been completely overlooked. I don’t think we should forget that.”
“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 added.
Gavaskar also dismissed speculation that boycotting the Champions Trophy would isolate India before adding that the whole scenario would also not affect the Indian Premier League.
“What perhaps would be — Australia and England (series) has been there since 1877 and is an iconic series — when it comes to other countries playing, they don’t get that kind of money. When India tour the money doubles, trebles, quadruples, I don’t exactly know how much. So, there is no way India can be isolated,” he explained.
“That particular thing about being isolated, we should completely forget about that. They will not be isolated. There is no worry about the Indian Premier League being affected as well because the fees the overseas players get is not something they get even playing five seasons of domestic cricket. Apart from a few players at the top level, they don’t get it. The IPL will still have top level players coming and playing. Those two fears a lot of people have, (but) we should not have those fears,” the batting legend further said.
He further admitted that the BCCI’s influence on the game has decreased in the last couple of years and even said that the Indian board has only itself to blame for all these unwanted situations.
“The only influence that has remained constant at international level has been that of England and Australia… Maybe India is not as powerful as it was maybe a couple of years back. Maybe they will have to look within themselves why that has happened, because of things that have happened, and only the BCCI is responsible for that,” he said.
Gavaskar also questioned ICC’s new revenue distribution model.
“If the $590 million or whatever the BCCI was supposed to get, if that is wrong, then how is the $290 million or the other $100 million that is being offered, right? If the whole idea is equitable distribution among all cricket boards, then every board must get exactly the same amount,” he said.
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