The International Cricket Council (ICC) has recently proposed a new revenue-sharing model for the 2024-27 cycle, which is set to be voted on at its July board meeting in Durban. This model has sparked concerns among several cricketing nations, especially the Associate members, as it heavily favors the game’s superpowers. In this article, we will explore the details of the proposed model, the concerns expressed by various stakeholders, and the potential implications for the growth and sustainability of the game.
The Proposed Model: A Closer Look
According to leaked figures reported by various sources, the proposed revenue-sharing model reveals a significant imbalance in the distribution of funds. India, often referred to as cricket’s financial engine, is expected to claim 38.5% of the annual earnings, primarily in recognition of its contribution to the commercial revenue pot. The 12 Full Members of the ICC would collectively receive 88.81% of the revenue, with the remaining share being distributed among the 94 Associate members.
Although the ICC has not officially commented on these figures, its General Manager Wasim Khan has stated that all members would receive more money under the proposed model as compared to the past.
Opposition and Resentment: Pakistan and Associate Members
Pakistan has already expressed its opposition to the model in its current shape, and resentment is brewing among other less-developed cricketing nations. Sumod Damodar, Vice Chairman of Botswana’s board and one of the three Associate member representatives on the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee, has shared his disappointment with the proposal, stating that it would not meet the needs of Associate members.
Damodar further elaborated that Associate members with One-Day International (ODI) status require more funding to sustain their high-performance programs, while others need financial support to bridge the gap. He cited the rapid rise of Nepal in men’s cricket and Thailand in women’s cricket as examples of countries that could progress further with the necessary financial backing.
Inequality and the Future of the Game
Vanuatu Cricket Association Chief Executive Tim Cutler has echoed these concerns, stating that the proposed model would only accentuate the inequality between cricket’s haves and have-nots. He argued that the new model is even more heavily weighted towards the bigger cricketing nations, and there is a risk that the proposed changes will exacerbate this imbalance, putting the future of the game at further risk.
Cutler emphasized that cricket would not grow beyond its current corners of the world if the allocation of the game’s global funds isn’t more equally distributed with a view to actually growing the game. With Full Members having 12 of the 17 total votes on the ICC board, he likened the situation to “turkeys voting for Christmas” when it comes to diverting funds away from themselves or making independent decisions for the good of the game.
Over-dependence on India: A Big Risk
Former ICC President Ehsan Mani has also voiced his concerns, highlighting the lack of vision at the governing body in its approach to developing cricketing nations, despite the huge commercial potential of some of them. He pointed out that one of the biggest risks for global cricket is its over-dependence on India for a major part of the revenues generated.
Mani argued that countries like the USA, the Middle East, and, in the longer term, China would bring enormous benefits to the ICC, its members, and the global game. He believes that world cricket would be stronger and richer if more attention and resources were directed towards these countries.
Equal Shares for All Full Members: A Possible Solution
Mani has advocated for equal shares for all Full Members, stating that the concept of India grabbing the lion’s share of ICC revenues “makes no sense.” He emphasized the need for a strong West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, while also noting that cricket in Zimbabwe, Ireland, and Afghanistan has suffered due to a lack of funds.
According to Mani, a lack of investment in these countries will make the game unsustainable, and world cricket will be poorer for it. By advocating for equal shares for all Full Members, Mani aims to address the pressing concerns surrounding the proposed revenue model and promote a more sustainable and inclusive future for the sport.
The Role of the ICC in Addressing Concerns
The ICC has not yet responded to the concerns raised by Associate members and other stakeholders. As the governing body for international cricket, the ICC has a responsibility to ensure that the sport continues to grow and thrive. Addressing the concerns surrounding the proposed revenue model is crucial for maintaining the trust and support of its members, as well as fostering a sense of unity and inclusiveness within the global cricket community.
The Way Forward: Striking a Balance
It is evident that the proposed revenue model has generated considerable debate and concern among various stakeholders within the cricketing world. Striking a balance between rewarding the contributions of cricket’s financial powerhouses and ensuring the development and growth of the sport in less-established nations is a complex task that requires careful consideration and negotiation.
Moving forward, it is essential for the ICC to engage in open dialogue with its members, listen to their concerns, and work towards a revenue-sharing model that is fair, equitable, and supportive of the game’s long-term growth and sustainability.
The ICC’s new proposed revenue model has sparked a significant debate within the cricketing community, with concerns being raised about its potential impact on the growth and development of the sport. As the governing body for international cricket, the ICC must take these concerns seriously and work towards a solution that promotes fairness, inclusiveness, and the long-term sustainability of the game.
By listening to the voices of its members and striving to strike a balance between rewarding the contributions of cricket’s financial powerhouses and supporting the growth of the sport in less-established nations, the ICC can help to ensure a bright and prosperous future for cricket at both the international and grassroots levels.