ICC issues warning on gov’t interference in cricket

HONG KONG, (Reuters) – Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have been given a maximum of two years to reorganise their boards after the International Cricket Council (ICC) ordered its members to free themselves from government interference or face sanctions.

The ICC annual conference upheld a constitutional amendment to provide for the principle of free elections and the independence of member boards, cricket’s governing body said in a statement on Thursday.

“It was agreed that all member boards must implement the provisions before annual conference in June 2012 and a further 12 months (to June 2013) would be allowed before any sanctions would be considered,” the statement read.

“It was a well-established principle of modern sporting governance that national federations should be autonomous and free from interference from government in the administration of their affairs.”

The decision means administrative reforms will be required in at least three test playing nations.

In Pakistan, the cricket board chief is appointed by the country’s president, who is designated chief patron of the board.

Sri Lanka Cricket has an interim body which requires issues such as team selection to be approved by the sports ministry, while the Bangladesh board chief is appointed by the government.

In a separate matter at the meeting, non-test playing nations expressed disappointment at the governing body’s decision to maintain the 12-team format for the Twenty20 World Cups in 2012 (Sri Lanka) and 2014 (Bangladesh).

“The ICC acknowledges their disappointment but the decision to have 14 teams in the (50-over) World Cup and 12 teams in the ICC World Twenty20 is a return to the current format for ICC events,” chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.

The governing body’s initial plan was to restrict the 50-over World Cup to 10 test playing nations for the 2015 tournament and adopt an expanded 16-team format for the Twenty20 event.

However, an Ireland-led protest from the non-test playing associate nations prompted the ICC to retain the 14-team format for the 2015 World Cup.

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