Players~~ Association threatens to walk away from ICC

Published: Thursday, April 17, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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London: The ICC faces the biggest revolt in the history of cricket with the Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA) ready to call for a breakaway from the apex body.

Resentment at the way the ICC has administered the game over the past year may result in a no-confidence vote at FICA's world conference in Austin, Texas, on May 26.

''The two days (of the conference) will be dominated by Indian cricket, what to do about the IPL, Twenty20 and Stanford,'' FICA's international legal adviser Ian Smith said.

''People are increasingly seriously asking why aren't we walking away. The competence of the administrators is being called into question at a policy level. We believe that because the players are better organised and that talent has been radically revalued by the Indian leagues it's time to look at whether the players can do a better job than the current policy makers,'' he added.

The players' union has been angered by the ICC's handling of several major controversies including the racism row involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds during India's recent tour of Australia.

Smith hopes the resolution at the FICA conference will be a demand for increased accountability in the ICC's Indian-dominated governing board. But other voices are not so conciliatory.

''There is no loyalty at all (from the players) towards the ICC at the top level,'' he remarked. ''We know that if someone came along and said let's do a 10-year, one billion pounds deal and create a world circus of cricket, we could take the top 200 players in the world into that circus if there is a guaranteed good income, good competition and good standard of living. All it would take is one broadcast deal.

''So there's no trust between the top level of cricket administrators and the guys who play it. It's not the fault of the executive of the ICC - people like Malcolm Speed are good guys who do their best for the game. It's that the decisions of the ICC are governed by the board and the structure of the ICC is wrong for world cricket. They've cocked up on every single policy issue.''

FICA chief executive Tim May, and members such as England's Sean Morris, South Africa's Tony Irish -the FICA secretary - Australia's Paul Marsh and New Zealand's Heath Mills are said to be of a similar mind. That represents the majority of FICA's executive officers, who are expected to call for the appointment of independent management consultants to undertake a structural review of the ICC.

''You can't have 10 people on the ICC board voting on every single issue out of self-interest,'' Smith said. ''We want an independent executive answerable to its shareholders once a year at an AGM.''


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