ICC warns India over Champions Trophy issue

Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:The International Cricket Council (ICC) has warned India against withdrawing from the Champions Trophy One-day tournament and altering agreed tour programmes.

"I have read a number of media reports emanating from BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) in which you and other BCCI officials are quoted as spokesmen on behalf of the Board," said ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed in a letter written to BCCI honorary secretary Niranjan Shah.

"The President (Ehsan Mani) and I are both very concerned that BCCI is moving ahead and taking what appear to be unilateral decisions that are contrary to ICC policy as agreed by the ICC members including BCCI."

India, which hosts the next edition of the Champions Trophy One-day event in October-November this year, believes the tournament - staged every two years - dilutes the importance of the four-yearly World Cup and causes huge financial losses to the host country.

"We will honour our commitment to organise the Champions Trophy this year but want the tournament to be taken off the calendar in future," an Indian cricket board official told AFP in Delhi earlier this month.

"Since the ICC takes away a major part of the revenue, the tournament is a financial burden on the country which hosts it."

The move to scrap the tournament comes amidst reports that India wants to maximise revenues from TV rights by organising more series against major nations like Australia, England and Pakistan over the next four years.

However, Speed said in his letter: "I wish to remind BCCI of three important decisions that have been taken by the ICC and IDI (the commercial arm of the ICC) Boards in recent times.

"At its meeting in Auckland on 9 March, 2004, the ICC Executive Board resolved to adopt the ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP).

"The effect of this decision is that the FTP is binding on all of the members of ICC, including BCCI. Any attempt by a member to amend it unilaterally without the consent of the ICC Executive Board is invalid."

Speed, an Australian, added in his letter: "With the greatest of respect to BCCI, could I urge you to take these decisions into account when you are considering scheduling of matches."

He said the next appropriate forums to discuss ICC policy were the Chief Executives Committee and Executive Board meetings scheduled for February and March 2006 respectively.

Speed also reiterated a previous offer from Mani to provide the BCCI with a full briefing on ICC policy ahead of these meetings.

The Champions Trophy was the brainchild of former Indian and ICC chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, who lost control of the Indian cricket board in November when his faction was voted out by political heavyweight Sharad Pawar.

The previous four editions of the Champions Trophy were hosted by Bangladesh (1998), Kenya (2000), Sri Lanka (2002) and England (2004).

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