In the balance
Windies facing possible suspension from all cricket
The West Indies Cricket Board will know by next month what the region’s status in world cricket is.
And that future could depend on whether the International Cricket Council (ICC) receives an official complaint from India over the abandonment of the India tour.
The ICC board will meet on November 10 and the mire in which West Indies cricket presently resides will dominate the discussions.
Today the ICC released a statement expressing a hope that “the matter will be resolved amicably”. However, the WICB could be facing the guillotine if cricket’s governing body applies the rules of the game dealing with such situations.
The worst case scenario is not only that WICB could see its participation fees for the 2015 World Cup reallocated to the BCCI whether West Indies are involved or not, but it could also face suspension from the ICC. However, since this series was based on a bilateral agreement, the ICC can only take action if the BCCI lodges a complaint with it.
The ICC said today it was concerned with the dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the West Indies Cricket Board, and was closely monitoring the developments arising from the recently cancelled tour of India. The ICC hoped that the matter would be resolved amicably, but clarified that unless the matter was otherwise referred to it, it did not have the power to intervene in disputes resulting from a bilateral FTP tour.
The BCCI, while it has made no specific mention of lodging any claim for damages, has already intimated it will take legal action against the WICB after West Indies abandoned their tour of India after the fourth ODI. They were due to have played five ODIs, one Twenty20 and three Tests as part of the tour. While Sri Lanka have stepped in to fill the void with a five-match ODI series, the BCCI’s claims for damages, if lodged, could be around $65 million.
The ICC Members’ Agreement (clause 7.6 under sub-heading Non-Compliance) states that “where . . . an Offending Party notified of compensation payable by it fails to pay the same in full . . . then such payment may be made to the Compliant party concerned by ICC out of such monies as may otherwise become due to the Offending Party whether out of its share of revenues arising out of the ICC Cricket World Cup or other ICC events”.
If the BCCI lodges a complaint with the ICC, it is likely to refer the matter to its Disputes Committee – as is outlined in clause 7.3 of the Members’ Agreement – which has the power to define the figure owed by WICB to the BCCI.
Furthermore, under the ICC’s Amended and Restated Memorandum and Articles of Association, unanimously approved by the full council in June 2014, the WICB could be facing suspension from the ICC. Clause 2.7 (sub-titled Suspension of Membership) suggests that should West Indies be deemed to have “fail[ed] to fulfil any of its financial obligations”, “fail[ed] to comply with any of its membership obligations”, or “act[ed] in such a way as shall be deemed by the Executive Board to bring the game of cricket into disrepute”, then “the Executive Board shall be entitled to suspend that Member with immediate effect”.
The ICC also has the authority (clause 2.7, section F of Suspension of Membership) to warn WICB of possible suspension if remedial steps are not taken within a “timeframe notified by, and to the satisfaction of, the Executive Board”.
Were the WICB to be suspended, West Indies would not be able to play Test, ODI or T20I cricket and would have very little chance of paying the debt incurred to the BCCI.
While the prevailing mood towards the WICB does not appear punitive, there is a strong desire to ensure there is no repeat of this episode.
The situation has left other boards nervous of similar unreliability and discussing possible contingency plans for West Indies series’. West Indies are due to tour South Africa in December and January and host England in April and May.