The uncertainty over whether ICC will have a new chairman in June has been brought to an end by the man who started it in the first place. Shashank Manohar has decided to complete his elected term as ICC chairman, which is due to end in June 2018, the ICC confirmed.
The decision represents a second change of heart in his tenure. In March, Manohar had opted to step down for “personal” reasons, but was persuaded quickly by a host of ICC directors – both Full Members and Associates – to continue. On the back of “overwhelming support” Manohar said he would return, but only till the annual conference this June when the new ICC constitution, comprising the governance structure and the latest finance model will be ratified.
ESPNcricinfo understands Manohar was once again persuaded by similarly overwhelming support from a collection of Full Members who were keen for him to finish the process of reform he has begun. Those reforms are slowly edging closer to reality, though they are not yet a done deal. At the last two ICC Board meetings, in February and April, a majority of Full Members have voted in favour of bringing in a new constitution for the ICC, as well as considerable governance reforms. They have also voted in favour of a new model of distribution of the ICC’s expected revenues over the current cycle.
But that it is not quite final yet is down to the opposition of the BCCI, once the domain of Manohar but now a hurdle to further progress. The Indian board has voted against the governance changes as well as the financial model in both meetings, calling instead for deferments, but unlike previous occasions, they have been roundly outvoted by other Full Members. In last month’s meeting, the BCCI was the lone objector to the financial model – from which it is projected to receive $293 million over eight years. That is more than any other board, but far short of the $570 million they want. On the governance model, the vote was 8-2 in favour, with only the BCCI and Sri Lanka Cricket objecting.
Much of that is thought to be down to the efforts of Manohar, who has stood firm in his bid to push reforms through, reforms which undo the world created by the Big Three in 2014. Manohar was head of the five-member working group that first presented the reforms in February.
That role will presumably continue to be a key one in his negotiations with the BCCI as both try to come to some middle ground, especially – but not exclusively – on the financial model. Manohar has left the door open to discussions and has offered an extra $100 million over the eight years to the Indian board to entice them.
But the realisation is growing among BCCI officials that the governance structure changes, some of which fundamentally alter the way in which power will be exercised at a global level, are equally important. One, for example, foresees the induction and presence of independent directors with voting powers in the boardroom, which will significantly change the nature of decision-making at the ICC. On Sunday, for instance, the BCCI’s acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary said after a special general meeting (SGM): “I think all of us should be devoting ourselves to what is more important and what will have greater consequences. That is the ICC governance structure.”
In that meeting, the BCCI decided that India would defend its title in the Champions Trophy next month in England – their participation had been thrown into some doubt by suggestions that the BCCI could take the option of revoking the Members Participation Agreement (MPA). That would have meant India not playing in, or hosting, any ICC tournaments in the foreseeable future.
Manohar agreeing to stay on also means the end of the aspirations of Giles Clarke, the ECB president and another author of the working group’s reforms. Clarke was reportedly interested in the position when it was created over a year ago. Though he is behind the scale back, he was also a key member of the trio that pushed through the Big Three reforms in the first place.