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ICC is risking increased corruption in cricket with revamp, says Transparency International

Transparency International has expressed grave concern over the proposed revamp of the ICC © Getty Images
Transparency International has expressed grave concern over the proposed revamp of the ICC © Getty Images

New Delhi: Jan 28, 2014

Transparency International (TI), a global anti-corruption orgainsation, on Tuesday expressed serious concern at the reform proposals of the International Cricket Council (ICC), saying it violates the “principles of good governance” and could lead to increase in “corruption” within the game.

A controversial proposal to radically alter power equations in world cricket in favour of India, England and Australia would be up for discussion during the ICC Executive Board meeting which began on Tuesday.

In a statement, TI chapters from nine cricket-playing countries, including India, England and Australia, claimed that “these proposals substantially depart from the principles of good governance and appear to heighten the risk of corruption within the game of cricket”.

Catch all the stories on ICC’s Big Three proposal and other key events here

The global anti-corruption organisation called on the ICC to publish a formal response to the Woolf Report and halt any other significant governance reforms in the meantime.

“For instance: many member countries are effectively dis-enfranchised; there remains a worrying lack of transparency in many areas; there is no clarity on how the ICC aims to assess and mitigate corruption risk at an administrative level,” TI said in a statement.

“There is no provision for independent Board representation; and the intention to entrench a privileged position for ‘The Big Three‘ (Indian, Australian and English Cricket Board) appears to be an abuse of entrusted power for private gain, giving them disproportionate, unaccountable and unchallengeable authority on a wide variety of constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, development and nomination matters,” it said.

The ICC itself commissioned Lord Woolf to submit a report on the governance of world cricket. The report suggested a series of reforms to make cricket’s governance more transparent and better equipped to oversee a global sport.

TI said that there has been no formal response from the ICC to the Woolf recommendations.

“The current proposals bear little or no relation to the principles outlined in the Woolf report, which in itself only represented standard corporate governance practice in many parts of the world.

“The proposals are notable for ignoring other wider indicators of good governance such as accountability, transparency, participation, consensus, equity and inclusiveness,” the release said.

TI made an initial submission to Lord Woolf and thereafter published its own report on cricket’s governance challenges in 2013, entitled ‘Fair Play’.

TI expressed concern that the risk of corruption in cricket is rising, and that little seems to be done to address those risks. The exception to this is in the area of match-fixing and spot-fixing. Yet cricket’s governance problems and corruption risks go far beyond the on-field players, and include officials, administrators and sponsors.

The current reform proposal makes no mention of how these salient issues will be addressed to ensure the future growth of the sport,” it added.

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