BCCI VP Modi accuses ICC of neo-colonialism

Published: Thursday, October 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:India's battle against the International Cricket Council turned nasty with the world governing body of the game accused of snooty, avaricious neo-colonialism.

"The avaricious and snooty officials are behaving more as masters and less as paid executives," raged Lalit Modi, vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Modi charged that the "weird logistics" of the ICC during the ongoing Champions Trophy in India was the root cause of the trouble.

"Everything including accreditation and security is being handled by companies based in London or South Africa who have no clue about ground realities here," Modi wrote in The Times of India.

"The one good thing is that the world media has seen the real face of the neo-colonialists of international cricket.

"These people are bent upon setting up their empire by parachuting some mercenaries who are acting like agents of new imperialism in India."

Behind the flare-up lies big money and India's refusal to sign a key commercial contract with the ICC despite threats it could lose the right to stage the 2011 cricket World Cup as a result.

"Let me also make it clear that India was voted to host the 2011 World Cup by the member-nations and not by any individual. So nobody should threaten anyone of taking away something that has been decided by an overwhelming majority of ICC members," Modi warned.

"It's time we had a chief executive who comes from Afro-Asia, someone who understands the problems of a majority of ICC members and doesn't heed just the affluent alone," he added.

The world governing body last week said all nations had to sign the Members Participation Agreement (MPA) binding them to all ICC events until 2015.

The BCCI wants certain MPA clauses amended, noting the contract would badly hit its own commercial deals worth a reported $one billion over the next four years.

India, the economic powerhouse of world cricket, won the right to hold the 2011 World Cup jointly with South Asian neighbours Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Five of the ICC's six main sponsors are Indian firms or the Indian branches of international businesses which target the enormous market on the sub-continent where cricket totally dominates all sports.

The BCCI caused a major row ahead of the last World Cup in South Africa in 2003 when it declined to sign the MPA.

It objected to a clause which prevented its players from advertising products from rivals of the ICC's official sponsors for three months on either side of the World Cup.

India finally sent a team for the tournament but the Rupert Murdoch-owned Global Cricket Corporation, which held the marketing rights for the last seven years, withheld almost 47 million dollars in payment to the ICC.

Significantly, the BCCI announced earlier this week that it would also make a bid for the ICC's global media and marketing rights for the next eight years.

The BCCI secured a whopping $612 million for its own rights for the next four years from the Mumbai-based Nimbus Corporation.

The ICC did no immediately comment on Modi's comments.


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