The International Cricket Council board on Saturday approved wide-ranging structural and governance reforms despite complaints that they place too much power in the hands of the “Big Three” of India, England and Australia.
The proposals were passed in Singapore after gaining the support of eight of the ICC’s 10 full members, with Sri Lanka and Pakistan – who had both been strongly opposed – abstaining, a spokesman said.
The proposals included setting up a powerful, five-member executive committee with seats reserved for India, England and Australia, the sport’s most influential boards.
The big three would also control the distribution of a Test cricket fund to other members, while the future tours program, designed to give all teams a chance to tour other countries, will be scrapped.
Sri Lanka had called the revamp illegal, saying an equal share in revenues among all boards was enshrined in the ICC constitution, while Pakistan great Imran Khan described it as colonial.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said it was not in line with the principle of equity nor in the interest of game of cricket.
And British peer Lord Harry Woolf, whose review of the ICC’s governance recommended a watering down of the big countries’ powers, called it “a really alarming position for the future of cricket”.
“I don’t see how if we had this to consider, we could see it as anything but a retrograde step,” the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales told Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
“It is giving extraordinary powers to a small triumvirate of three people, and everybody else has got no power to say anything or do anything.”
The big three had insisted their scheme would benefit other leading nations, with England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke saying: “All countries earn more through this proposal. How can that be bad for cricket?”
And New Zealand board member Martin Snedden described it as pretty good for New Zealand Cricket, saying the body stood to receive a significant boost to its finances.