In a move that could massively shake up the world order in cricket, the International Cricket Council has sent out a letter that threatens to snatch away hosting rights from India, and other Full Member nations, if they don’t comply with the governing body’s hosting model.
The letter, signed by the ICC’s chief executive officer Manu Sawhney, and addressed to each of its 92 Associate members, has primarily demanded government guarantees from future hosting nations of ICC events, according to a report in The Times of India. Primary among them are tax exemptions, which has long been a bone of contention between the sport’s governing body and its richest member, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and the potential for government investment. Failing to provide these guarantees, the letter states, will lead to the member not being able to host any ICC event over the next eight-year cycle that runs from 2023 and 2031.
The development essentially puts India’s rights for hosting the 2023 50-over World Cup at stake, with the BCCI having not yet come to terms with the ICC’s tax requirements. The BCCI hasn’t agreed to the ICC’s mandate to shoulder the burden of tax liabilities that amount to INR 150 crore (over 21 million USD or £ 16 million) for hosting future events. Failure to comply could lead to a cut from India’s global revenue share, with the Asian giant also still waiting to receive the hosting fee for the 2016 T20 World Cup.
In addition to all this, the ICC will also no longer provide hosting fees, starting from the 2023 cycle, leaving member nations to generate their own revenue, from ticket sales, hospitality and catering.
“What’s happening is utter madness,” a BCCI official told The Times of India. “And India still doesn’t seem to be in a position to do much about it, because it has to first wait for the Supreme Court’s order. [Shashank] Manohar [the ICC chairman] has already said that India will lose the 2023 World Cup if it doesn’t get tax exemptions. This is worrying because we all know what happens if things go that way.”
The BCCI has taken up the matter with a top UK law firm, but time is short, with the appointment of hosts set to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020. The ICC will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP), which will include bidding and agreement documents, in April this year.