CHANDIGARH, FEB 8 : With a view to protecting Test cricket, the International Cricket Council has decided to introduce aTest Cricket Fund to help ensure all of the Test playing teams to be able to sustain a home programme of Test cricket through to 2023. The fund will be available to all of the Test playing members except the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
There was also confirmation that all Full Members will enter into a series of contractually binding bi-lateral agreements as a matter of urgency so that they can confirm a comprehensive schedule of matches in a Future Tours Programme that will now be extended to 2023, according to a press release issued by the ICC from Singapore where the ICC Board meeting was held.
Associate Members now have a clear pathway to playing Test cricket. The winner of the next ICC Intercontinental Cup will be entitled to take part in a play-off against the bottom-ranked Full Member and, if successful, obtain Test status. This complements the pathways that are already in place for any Member to be able to qualify for the major events in ODI and T20I cricket.
The World Test Championship will be replaced with an ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 and 2021. It proved impossible to come up with a format for a four-team finals event in Test cricket that fits the culture of Test cricket and preserves the integrity of the format.
The release says that the most recent ICC Champions Trophy event proved to be very popular with supporters around the world and the future events will build on this success. It’s also an event that any ICC Member (including the top Associate Members) can aspire to qualifying for by improving their performances in ODI cricket.
With the ICC Champions Trophy alongside the ICC Cricket World Cup and ICC World Twenty20 and the formats and venues already confirmed for all of these events the ICC has a really attractive package for 2015-23 to take to the market.
Full Members will gain greater financial recognition based on the contribution they have made to the game, particularly in terms of finance, their ICC history and their on-field performances in the three formats.
This decision is the outcome of a negotiation between Members that has been required to provide long-term certainty of participation of all Members in both ICC events and bilateral series against other Members. Without that certainty, the rights for ICC events, which are to be taken to market this year, would have been significantly impacted and, by extension, so would the financial support that has driven the growth of cricket around the world.
The structure of the model will ensure that none of the Full Members will be worse off than they are at present and – if forecasts of revenue generation prove to be correct – all will be significantly better off. The agreement of the model has been an important part of a wider negotiation that will now provide long-term certainty of participation in ICC events by all of the Full Member teams.
Enhanced support for the leading Associate Members
Funds that will be directly distributed to Associate and Affiliate Members (AMs) will continue to grow, building on a dramatic increase in the previous cycle (2007-15) if revenue targets are achieved. There is also a commitment to continue to support tournaments for all of the AMs and a range of centralised services.
The planning process for the next cycle can now begin in earnest and, as part of this, there will be a review – in partnership with the AMs and their representatives – of the appropriate scope of services and tournaments and the suitability of the current scorecard distribution model of the funds.