Isaac is hoping to see all cricket boards elect their presidents sooner rather than later
The International Cricket Council (ICC) president Alan Isaac has announced that he will be reviewing whether government involvement in cricketing matters should be allowed to continue or banned for all member nations.
Isaac noted that the recent Woolf report recommended the ICC to ban governments from interfering with cricketing matters, but the president added that he would not make a hasty decision since the government of many developing countries had played a significant part in helping them get to where they are today.
“In the ICC annual conference, we made some changes and introduced some onerous penalties if they [issues related to government interference] are not complied with,” Isaac said. “In the last meeting, we discussed the issues and the realities are we need to reflect on perhaps the draconian nature of some of those requirements.
“In this part of the world and lots of other countries, quite honestly, cricket and other sports depend on the government. We are having a little bit of post-change review. I am not making any comment about what those changes might result to, but I think we are having a period of reflection.”
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has had a history of their board presidents being selected by the government and in fact, that was the case with current leader Nazmul Hasan after his predecessor Mustafa Kamal was appointed as the ICC’s new vice-president.
However, even though Sri Lanka’s cricket board members are elected, the government still has to approve any large financial decisions and transactions they make, while the roster for the national team is constantly reviewed by the sports minister as well.
Pakistan is another example of where the chairman of the country’s cricket board is chosen by the government and to make matters worse, the president of the nation has the power to relieve the chairman and must also approve all other members of the board.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, a top PCB official said: “Every country has unique circumstances and unique way to deal with matters, a standalone problem for Pakistan is to bring international cricket back to the country and we can’t ensure that without the help of the government.”
According to the Woolf report, “governments taking an interest in the development of cricket and providing support and patronage to Member Boards may be acceptable or even desirable. It is a matter of achieving an appropriate balance between support and interference. It is important for the credibility of such safeguards that once defined, they are enforced rigorously and consistently.”
During their annual conference in 2011, the ICC gave all member nations two years to free itself from government interference and intervention.
Earlier this year, the BCB announced that they wanted to elect the president of board and sent their amended constitution to the National Sports Council, who agreed to the changes, provided that the board still had three government appointed directors.
Isaac stated that he was in talks with the BCB to get familiar with their new constitution before recommending any changes they should make to it.
“It is not so much about the elected president; it’s more the lack of government interference,” Isaac added. “The ICC staffs are in discussions with the BCB to understand what the constitution actually says to some of those aspects.”
Speaking about Bangladesh’s tour of Pakistan, Isaac noted that if security standards were up to par, then the ICC would provide match officials for the series.
“These are bilateral matches. ICC’s role was to provide match officials and referees and obviously it has some responsibility towards these people,” Isaac said. “We are all keen to see cricket return to Pakistan as quickly as possible. I think David Richardson and the team has been working with the BCB officials and the PCB officials to do everything they can to get cricket back in Pakistan.
“That work has been done at the moment and an assessment is to be done of the security. If they have not been able to or the officials are not prepared to go, what is likely to happen is the ICC will allow Pakistan officials to stand. That was an arrangement we had agreed previously as a special exception to facilitate cricket returning to Pakistan.”