The letter issued on Friday states: “BCCI urges the cricketing community to sever ties with countries from which terror emanates.” Although it doesn’t specify any nation in particular, the reference is clearly to Pakistan.
CoA chairman Vinod Rai was quoted as saying by The Indian Express, “Why should we shoot ourselves in the foot by not playing? We should seek their (Pakistan) ouster and remove them from the cricketing committee.”
The newly inducted member of CoA, Lt. Gen. Ravi Thodge, who attended the meeting on Friday via video conference, concurred with Rai’s views.
“Yes, we want to isolate Pakistan by getting a consensus among the other ICC member nations not to continue cricketing ties as long as they are harbouring terrorism,” Thodge told CricketNext. “It is not going to be an easy task and it’s a long process. We have to convince 15-16 other member nations but we are keen on doing this.”
However, terminating a full-member country’s membership is far from a simple process.
According to section 2.10 of the ICC constitution: “The ICC Board of Directors may suspend the membership of a Member with immediate effect where, in the opinion of the Board of Directors (in its absolute discretion), the Member is in serious breach of any of its obligations as a Member.”
Section 2.11 of the constitution which deals with 'termination' of memberships says, "A member may have its membership of ICC terminated if the Board of Directors considers that the Member’s breach of its obligations as a Member is sufficiently serious to warrant termination."
The BCCI will have to establish conclusively that there is basis to warrant such a move to suspend or terminate Pakistan’s membership. In addition, Pakistan’s right of participation in the 2019 World Cup are guaranteed by section 2.13 (H) of the constitution, which says, “Each Member being entitled (subject to meeting any relevant qualification criteria) to participate in certain Cricket events organised or sanctioned by the ICC.”
According to a source close to the world body, in the highly unlikely scenario of Pakistan being denied participation at the World Cup, the PCB will have valid recourse available in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. When it comes to Members Participation Agreement (MPA), all cricket boards have signed it for the period between 2016 to 2023. The MPA is not signed on an individual tournament basis, the source informed.
‘CoA squabbling is thing of the past’
Meanwhile, Thodge was pleased after his first interaction with the other members of the CoA. “It was a very cordial meeting and everything went off very smoothly,” Thodge, joined the Gorkha Regiment in 1977 and quit in 2016 after 39 years in the Army, by which time he had reached the post of Lieutenant General, said.
He received the Param Vishisht Seva Medal and has extensive experience of fighting insurgency in Punjab, Kashmir, North-east India and Sri Lanka. “I have nearly 40 years of experience with army and I’ll bring all of that on board in cricket administration as well,” he said.
Asked how he would handle the difference that have cropped up between other CoA members — Rai and former India women’s captain Diana Edulji — Thodge said, “The CoA squabbling is a thing of the past. I am not thinking about those things at all. The Court (Supreme Court) will hear no complains about the CoA in future.”
First Published: February 23, 2019, 2:35 PM IST