Modi made BCCI 1 billion dollar entity: Atherton

Published: Monday, April 10, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Former England captain Michael Atherton believes BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi's ''brash commercialism'' will put the board in collision course with the ICC and traditional followers of the game in India.

In a column for the Daily Telegraph, Atherton wrote, Modi ''loves money'' and is the single most important factor in the BCCI income rising to one billion dollars.

However, ''They (traditionalists) see a difference between sport and business: they know that one has a soul, the other does not; that one produces an emotional attachment, the other does not, and that cricket cannot survive without money, yet it shouldn't exist merely to make money,'' he said.

Atherton said Modi was the most important cricket administrator in the world today and has been ''ruthlessly efficient at exploiting BCCI property.'' As a result, Atherton believes the BCCI vice-president would be influential in shaping up international cricket in the years to come.

''Modi and 21st century Indian cricket are a perfect match. Born to a wealthy Indian family he has tentacle-like business interests,'' the former English captain said.

Atherton said Modi was well aware of the corruption in the BCCI during the Dalmiya years and knew that the television rights were being undersold.

''Modi knew from the deals that he negotiated at Ten Sports and ESPN that the BCCI was underselling its rights and that corruption was rife,'' Atherton revealed.

''He (Modi) says that his television stations would be in profit after the first year of a four year deal and that 'side-deals', as he puts it, were an integral part of the negotiating process.'' Atherton said with the advancement in technology, the marketing committee chairman would continue to exploit the board by finding out new avenues to earn money.

''With technology changing at such a rapid pace, Modi plans to continue to exploit every available revenue stream,'' he said.

Atherton also said India's planned matches at neutral venues, squeezed in between the ICC's Future Tours Programme, will put Modi in collision course with the cricket's governing body.

''The biggest problem is likely to arise from Modi's determination to take the game to India's massive diaspora. He plans matches, as many as 25 per year, mainly against Pakistan, in neutral venues.'' ''The ICC are keen to allow some periods of rest within the Future Tours Programme, and they are likely to look unkindly on home boards who fill up every gap with more money-spinning opportunities,'' he said.

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