Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lord Woolf's Review of the International Cricket Council

FIFA is not alone in the world of sports governance in having its governance practices closely scrutinized.  The world governing body for cricket, the International Cricket Council, will receive the report of an independent review of its governance this week.

The Telegraph has already predicted that the review's recommendations will meet strong resistance:
Woolf was commissioned to overhaul the ICC’s governance, a long-overdue project given the overtly political nature of a governing body that has never been able to rise above the vested interests of its members, most recently and obviously India.
Those same vested interests could yet stand in the way of the former Lord Chief Justice’s proposals, the most contentious of which is likely to be a recommendation to add independent directors to the ICC board.

Woolf is thought to be in favour of independent figures, but the proposal will be unpopular with several influential nations, including India, Australia and England.

The ICC board is dominated by the chairmen of the 10 Test-playing nations, and Woolf is thought to believe that independent figures will help add perspective and allow the board to make better strategic decisions.

In recent times ICC policy, including the number of teams in World Cup tournaments and the identity of the next chairman, has been set at the whim of powerful factions, sometimes in the space of a tea break.
Transparency International has submitted a detail report with recommendations for the ICC:
Cricket faces a number of obvious challenges — such as combatting the kind of spot-fixing that led to the sentencing of three Pakistani cricketers for corruption in 2011 — and those who manage the game must look at their existing structures.

Sport today is a multi-billion dollar business. Today’s sports governing bodies have to start operating as big businesses, using best business practices. The International Olympic Committee has already gone through a reform process; other international sporting bodies must too.

One of the key points we stressed in our submission is that while the players are the ones who face greatest public scrutiny, it is the administrators, both at the international and national level, who set the infrastructure and environment in which players and match officials operate. And this must be transparent and accountable.
The pressures on the ICC, FIFA and others suggest that while we may not yet be experiencing a "Sporting Spring," there are sure signs that the weather is changing.


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