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11 June 2023

Woolf slams India's 'money-motivated' power grab


Plans to give India, England and Australia greater power in running the International Cricket Council (ICC) have been blasted as "entirely motivated by money" by the judge asked to review its governance.

Last month the ICC said it had reached "unanimous agreement" on the outline of a plan to give the sport's most financially powerful nations - India, England and Australia - a greater say in running the world game.

But Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa have continued to object ahead of a hastily convened ICC board meeting in Singapore on Saturday where a vote to implement the proposals may take place.

Lord Harry Woolf, in an interview with Friday's UK Daily Telegraph, said: "This 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," explained Woolf, who submitted his report last year after being commissioned in 2011.

"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 former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales said.

"It seems to be entirely motivated by money."

Woolf said that, if implemented, the ICC would cease to be a global governing body and be more like a private members' club.

"The British and Australian governments might come to regret this power-grab by their cricket boards: if people in Pakistan see India growing ever stronger, they will resent the role of England and Australia.

"What it (the ICC) is going to cease to be is an independent body for playing cricket, and it is going to be what they would like to see: a members club - with a very small number of members."

As for the influence of India, cricket's economic powerhouse, Woolf said: "They are the biggest generators of money and that they can say that should be taken into account, but how it should be taken into account is a matter of judgment.

"There is a paragraph which says: It is proposed that the ICC executive board forms a new committee of the ICC called the executive committee, which under new terms of reference will act as - and I emphasise this word - the SOLE recommendation committee on all constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, developments and nomination matters, as well as all matters regarding distributions from the ICC."

Woolf added: "I have never seen anything of that sort in a body of this nature."

The 'Big Three' have insisted their scheme will 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?"