Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

Sentiment in ICC is that India’s approach is high-handed: Vikram Limaye

Vikram Limaye, member of the SC-appointed COA was the BCCI’s representative at the ICC board meetings.

Vikram Limaye, COA, BCCI, BCCI representative, ICC board, who is Vikram Limaye, sports news, cricket Vikram Limaye is part of the COA. (Source: Express Photo)

Vikram Limaye, member of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) was the BCCI’s representative at the ICC board meetings last week.  In an interview with The Indian Express, the career banker gave a lowdown of the proceedings. Excerpts:

How was the overall experience of your first ICC meeting?

My experience was good, because of a couple of reasons. I think people appreciated India’s economic contribution to world cricket. That is in terms of our importance to world cricket; the fact that we generate substantial revenues. Given the support that we have in our country, and the media revenues that come because of India is substantially large.

The second was that a lot of trust building needs to happen because I think the relationship between the BCCI, ICC and member countries needs to improve. It’s important for us to adopt a more collaborative approach rather than having a combative approach, because at the end of the day we have only one vote. Ultimately, as a strong cricketing country I think it’s important for us to make sure that stronger countries support the weaker countries such that cricket overall develops in a certain way that the countries that are financially weaker have the resources to develop their cricketing infrastructure to become stronger. Because your viewership and revenues will improve if you have more competition of countries that are stronger. So it’s important for the stronger countries to financially support weaker countries.

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Are you talking about the smaller cricket nations?

No, everybody. This has been a general sentiment that India’s approach is high-handed. There’s a feeling that India hasn’t been treating them as partners; it’s more of a confrontational approach.

Did you see any acrimony inside the boardroom?

No, not at all. I was the only BCCI representative. So from that perspective; actually they appreciated my approach. Because my point is simple; I don’t have any baggage of the past or alignments. I’m not here in any permanent capacity. I believe a collaborative approach is helpful in the long-term interests of the BCCI and everybody else. We have to move forward. So from that standpoint, there has to be some give and take in a way that everybody feels it’s a fair arrangement.

You didn’t have much preparation time..

I had only three days. I read the documents that were made available to the cricket board. We were aware of how this could evolve. I got some time to interact with some member countries. Obviously, I hadn’t spent enough time to reject or approve something. That’s why I requested them if they could defer this. Because if there’s a vote on this proposal, then I have to vote against it … I cannot vote in favour of it. That was my request, but others wanted a vote as a working group has been constituted for constitutional reforms, which is also working on it for several months. So they said things couldn’t be postponed at the last minute. So (the chairman said) it’s up to the members to decide if they want to vote.

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So you didn’t oppose it in principle. Since you didn’t have enough time to prepare, you voted against it…

There has to be a more equitable distribution. That was certified by the BCCI one year ago, during its February 2016 meeting (SGM). There was an acknowledgment and an authorisation given to the president and secretary to negotiate a lower amount. That meeting was attended by everybody. There was an understanding and an acknowledgment that there has to be a more equitable allocation and the BCCI should be willing to accept a lower amount. They left it to the judgment of the president and secretary to negotiate a lower amount. So there isn’t any disconnect…

The BCCI maintains that it contributes to over 70 per cent to the ICC coffers. So it is entitled for more than 20 per cent…

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Nobody knows why it is 20. I would say why not 30? Somebody will say why not 15? What’s the magic number? Why is 20 fair? There’s no rationale to it. Beyond a point, these are all negotiations. Ultimately, it’s a negotiation in terms of what’s the right amount for other countries to develop their infrastructure. That’s why I started off by saying there was an acknowledgment without any doubt about our contribution.

But I don’t think that in our interest we take so much money that all the other countries remain weak. It’s not good for the game to have three strong countries instead of six strong countries for example. And how do you make other countries stronger without giving them financial resources?

Some proposals have been put forward in the meeting, which suggest that the ICC wants to be more inclusive, democratic and transparent..

In terms of principle, whether it is membership criteria or getting an independent member on the Board – the whole roster in the governance structure—my point is that this needs to be examined more closely. Between now and April, if we have any serious concerns surrounding some clauses, we have an opportunity to go back and point it out.

There’s an allegation that Manohar, after becoming the ICC chairman, has become unjust and unfair to the BCCI…

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I don’t want to get into all these. I can’t pass judgment on what Manohar did. He is the independent chairman of the ICC. It was the member boards’ prerogative to vote. It was not the chairman’s decision. For example, Cricket Australia’s chairman has to think about the interests of Australian cricket irrespective of what Manohar thinks.

The Champions Trophy pull out remains an option to a section of the BCCI if the Big Three rollback happens in April. How do you look at it?

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That’s not something I mentioned at the Board meeting, nor is it something that we have discussed internally. My limited point is that confrontation will not take you far. I think it’s not in the interests of Indian cricket that there should be a view that India will pull out of all international cricket. I don’t think that will go down well (with the fans) in our country.

First published on: 09-02-2017 at 01:46:37 am
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