Cricket is being held hostage by three countries and something needs to be done about it.
That’s the contention of a group of protestors at The Oval in London today who were joined by England’s famous Barmy Army of cricket fans.
Leading the protest were sports governance activists Damian Collins MP and Jaimie Fuller alongside co-directors of an acclaimed recent film on the plight of international cricket to demand change in the governance and management of the sport.
“Cricket has been taken over by England, Australia and India at the expense of the other 102 countries that play the game,” said Mr Collins who has also led the charge in the UK Parliament against poor governance standards and corruption in football’s world governing body FIFA.
The protestors today called on fans as well as professional and amateur players to support the move to #ChangeCricket by signing the petition at www.changecricket.com.
“These three titans of the game have engineered a backroom power grab where cricket is the loser and England, Australia and India are the perennial winners,” Mr Collins said.
“Not only are they doing the wrong thing by their sport, but it is a conflict of interest. It is clear they do not have an interest in developing and growing the game globally, but only in their own backyards.”
An independent report from the former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf and PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2012 also referred to the conflict of interest implicit in the composition and membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC), chaired by the controversial Indian tycoon N Srinivasan.
Under ICC revenue distribution arrangements, England, Australia and India receive more than half of the game’s international revenues while 102 other countries, including the seven other Test playing nations, receive a share of the remaining 48% of revenues.
“This is all about self-interest,” said the prominent sports activist Fuller.
“The big cricket series are all being played between these three countries and they reap the rewards.
“Even FIFA, with all of the issues it faces in terms of corruption allegations and governance challenges, has respected the need to grow the game and to give each of its member associations an equal and guaranteed level of funding.”
Mr Fuller said that the ICC has reduced its marquee event, the Cricket World Cup, to ten teams and also resisted taking part in the Olympic Games.
“This would laughable if it wasn’t such a scandal. Other sports look at ways to expand their marquee event, and would give their eye-teeth to part of the Olympic movement – but not cricket, thanks to the ICC.”
Mr Collins and Mr Fuller said they were inspired to support the cause to #ChangeCricket after recently seeing a documentary film made by SamCollins [no relation] and Jarrod Kimber, entitled Death of a Gentleman which details how the power grab will eventually result in the death of the revered long form of the game, Test cricket.
As well as signing the petition at www.changecricket.com, supporters are encouraged to contact the Prime Minister and Sports Minister in each of England, Australia and India asking them to intervene.
“In each of these countries, cricket is seen as the national sport. Governments of all persuasions have pointed to cricketing analogies and their national cricketers for inspiration and celebration,” said Mr Fuller.
“The game impacts all of us. We urge governments and all cricket lovers to unite to #ChangeCricket.
“Otherwise, what we will be left with is just not cricket.”