India, Pakistan to miss cricketers’ union meeting

April 18th, 2008 - 1:28 pm ICT by admin  

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) India and Pakistan will not be represented when the global cricketers’ union meets next month. The union, however, has climbed down significantly from its legal adviser’s “unnecessarily inflammatory” warning of launching a possible breakaway tournament. Federation of International Cricketers’ Association’s (FICA) legal adviser Ian Smith told London’s Guardian newspaper Thursday that the world’s top 200 players could launch their own “world circus of cricket” having re-assessed their value in the lucrative Indian Twenty20 tournaments. The move was seen as antagonistic to the tournaments in India.

But FICA Chief Executive Tim May distanced the union from Smith’s threat to form a breakaway tournament.

“Ian’s comments represent his personal view on the matter and do not represent FICA’s position at this time. Regarding the breakaway aspect of Ian’s comments, I believe that these are to an extent unnecessarily inflammatory at this time,” May told IANS via e-mail.

“This is not to say that FICA does not have concerns with the governance structure of the ICC (International Cricket Council),” said May, a former Australia off-spinner who played 24 Tests and 47 One-day Internationals in the 1980s and the 1990s.

FICA, which sits on the ICC’s cricket committee, is angry with the ICC on several issues, mostly administrative. It is also extremely concerned about the player burnout due to tight international schedules.

“We do acknowledge that the opportunities for players to play in professional cricket that is not governed directly by ICC are increasing,” he said. He was referring to the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), starting in Bangalore Friday night, the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL) and other Twenty20 tournaments elsewhere.

Interestingly, India, which has become the undisputed global hub of the game due to its money power, along with Pakistan is still not represented on FICA as the two countries’ boards have not recognised their players’ unions.

“The Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA) is not a member of FICA and, therefore, will not be attending the meeting. It is FICA’s desire that both India and Pakistan players’ associations become members of FICA. However, at this stage this has not eventuated,” wrote May.

The ICPA was formed in 2002 after the controversy over players’ personal endorsements, with Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri and Abbas Ali Baig among its founding members.

But the body, headed by Masur Ali Khan Pataudi, has failed to get recognition from three successive set-ups of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), headed by Jagmohan Dalmiya, Ranbir Singh Mahendra and now Sharad Pawar.

Baig said that ICPA is virtually non-functional now. “There is no activity at present. Even all the players of the national team are not members of the ICPA. We never got the recognition and it’s impossible to function without it,” Baig told IANS.

Many experts feel without Indian and Pakistani representation, FICA will not have a powerful voice in the ICC, despite its limited presence on the game’s 100-year-old governing body.

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