Monday, October 02, 2006


How To Take Over World Sport


Step 1: Start by ensuring that an overwhelming majority of sponsorship moolah earned by the global governing body of your sport originates from you or corporates based in your country or corporates who consider your country as their largest market.

Step 2: Refuse to sign the very agreement that binds you, with the proverbial ball and chain in tow, to acquiesce to every whim and fancy (ie. thinly veiled fine print in the contract) of the sponsors of the global governing body.

Step 3: Submit an irresistable response to a tender for broadcast and advertising rights by the world governing body, to an extent that they would be accused of gross negligence and cries of unabashed corruption would resonate in their ears if they were to refuse your offer.

Step 4: On-sell the recently acquired rights to specialists, the same parties that would have won them initially had it not been for your insatiable desire for power, at exorbitantly inflated prices.

Step 5: Contratulations. You are now the ruler of the Kingdom of [insert the name of any sport here]. You now have the every administrator of that sport at your beck and call, willing to service your every demand.

The above list was compiled after thorough analysis of the BCCI's behaviour in the recent past and an accurate forecast of their intended actions. If you have not heard already (where have you been, man???), Niranjan Shah (for all intents and purposes, the BCCI's Chief Operating Officer) has indicated that the BCCI "will be aggressively pursuing the matter and will put forward the best bid as any other marketing agency".

Yes you read absolutely right, the BCCI wishes to buy the global media and broadcast rights to all the ICC's events until 2015. In effect, the BCCI will be funding the ICC and its events. This throws up a veritable smorgasbord of scenarios that the ICC really could have done without, so hot on the heels of the botched cover-up of the non-appointment of Darryl Hair for the Champions Trophy.

I am not privy to the exact terms and conditions that must be satisfied for an entity to submit a proposal to the ICC for the aforementioned rights. Assuming that the BCCI somehow manages to satisfy the elegibility clauses, on what grounds can the ICC preclude its submission? Very few, I would presume. The ICC will have a particularly difficult time denying the BCCI, especially if their proposal happens to offer top dollar. Considering the BCCI's significant term deposits and the clout that its office-bearers weild within the Indian corporate and political scene, its offer should be as good, if not better than anything the GCC or others of its ilk can muster.

The more important question remains: how will the other major cricketing powers take being dictated to by the BCCI? If, just if, the ICC accepts the BCCI's offer, for the other member Boards it would be akin to agreeing to live with big brother in a 100 room mansion over living by yourself in a rented double-story house. I can not imagine Antipodean arrogance or English self-importance being thrilled by the idea. Think for a second, which option would you choose?

I personally have no issue with the BCCI employing its commercial acumen to benefit from all cricket, played all over the world, rather be limited to matches played in or by India. However, I do have one condition: not one cent/paisa of the profits earned from the said venture must be pocketed by the BCCI's office-bearers. If this cannot be guaranteed, then the BCCI as an organisation has no business in bidding for these rights. Ultimately, the BCCI's mission is to improve the standard and popularity of the game in India, not line the pockets of office-bearers who have been awarded a contract on the pretence that the Board will be the sole beneficiary.

This event was in the works from the day Sharad Pawar's reign began. The ICC was sorely mistaken if it thought the ball tampering issue was as difficult as things were going to get. If an offer from the BCCI is anything other than specifically precluded by the terms of the tender, a logical, reasonable and truthful explanation (no cover-ups please) needs to be forthcoming from the ICC pertaining to why it will not be accepted.

Having witnessed the events of the last few years I hold no hope that we will see anything other than a right royal screw-up from the ICC on this matter. This gets more and more interesting by the day. Keep up the intrigue gentlemen.

(Read our first post on this issue here)

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