Champions a money-minting exercise: Atherton

Published: Sunday, October 1, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London: Former England captain Mike Atherton has ridiculed Champions Trophy, which gets underway from Saturday, as a money-minting exercise and said Indian public's craze over cricket has been a reason for promoting the cause of such tournaments.

''The Champions Trophy, unashamedly, has always had more to do with money than cricket. Monies raised from this year's Champions Trophy will not only benefit 10 Test-playing nations who are competing, but also raised 65 million dollar for the associate and affiliate members of the ICC.

''Since 1998, 42 new countries have joined the ICC so that the game can now boast of 92 countries that are tied to the cricket family as affiliate or associate members. The Trophy, then, has nothing to do with finding the best One-day team and a lot to do with empire-building,'' Atherton wrote in his column in Sunday Telegraph.

He said Indian public's craze over cricket has fuelled the avariciousness of international cricket administrators.

''Clearly, at the moment, the administrators are siding with short-term expansion and profit. The public should know better than to fall for such a sucker punch, but the Indian public are the least discerning of the cricketing audiences. One-day international cricket there, in any shape or form, is likely to sell,'' Atherton, who played 115 Tests for England between 1989 and 2001, said.

''How far can the boundaries of cricket's integrity be stretched within the framework required to raise funds for the continuing expansion of the game? How much is too much? At what point will the general public take a stand against the gradual erosion of quality for the sake of more profit?'' Atherton asked.

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