ICC rejects PCB’s compensation claim against BCCI on bilateral cricket

PTI Dubai/Karachi | Updated on November 20, 2018 Published on November 20, 2018

Pakistan Cricket Board alleged that according to an MoU, India was required to play six bilateral series between 2015 to 2023. Image for representation purpose.   -  Reuters

The International Cricket Council’s dispute panel on Tuesday dismissed Pakistan’s compensation claim against India for allegedly failing to honour a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on bilateral series, ending the long-standing feud by accepting the BCCI’s arguments on the matter.

“The PCB’s claim is dismissed. Costs are reserved,” the ICC stated in the one-line order that concluded a 26-page judgement. “The judgement is binding and non-appealable,” it added.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had demanded Rs 447 crore compensation after alleging that the BCCI didn’t honour the MoU that required India to play six bilateral series between 2015 to 2023. The BCCI, on its part, maintained that the alleged MoU was not binding and did not stand as Pakistan failed to honour a commitment to support the revenue model suggested by India for the ICC.

The Indian Board also said that bilateral cricket with Pakistan was subject to government clearance, which has not been forthcoming since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. “We are happy that our stand has been vindicated. What PCB termed as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was just a proposal letter,” CoA chief Vinod Rai told PTI. “I would like to thank the BCCI legal team as well as everyone who worked on this arbitration,” Rai said.

Rai said BCCI will now file a counter compensation case against the PCB to demand the cost of arbitration. “We will make a presentation to the panel and demand entire cost of compensation to be borne by the PCB for the arbitration where there claims have been dismissed,” he added.

The PCB reacted with disappointment and said it would weigh its options after going through the judgement. “The PCB notes with regret the decision of the Disputes Resolution Committee,” their statement said. “PCB will determine its future course of action in this regard after detailed deliberations and consultations with its stakeholders,” it added.

The ICC’s three-member dispute resolution committee was formed last year to look into the PCB’s compensation claim. The hearing took place at the world body’s headquarters here from October 1-3. The issue goes back to 2014 when the erstwhile BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel signed a one-page document which BCCI always termed as the “proposal letter” to play six bilateral series between 2015 to 2023 on home-and-away basis.

The ICC dispute panel ruled that the document signed between the two Boards did not seem binding. “It follows inexorably that the PCB’s claim must fail. If there was no obligation on the BCCI to engage in the tours in either 2014 or 2015, its omission to do so was no breach and gave rise to no damages claim,” it said.

The first of the proposed series was planned in November 2015 in the UAE but BCCI didn’t get permission from the government which is mandatory for any bilateral cricketing engagement with Pakistan. The PCB’s compensation claim was triggered by a loss of TV revenue for that particular series. “The Panel accepts that the awareness of the BCCI’s claimed need for government approval was indeed reflected not only in PCB e-mails but also in minutes of PCB board meetings, all of which were aggregated in the BCCIs helpful schedule to its written submissions,” the ICC judgement stated.

India’s former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid was among those who were cross-examined during the dispute panel hearing. According to a senior BCCI official, he justified India’s refusal to play bilateral cricket with Pakistan, citing security concerns. Rai thanked Khurshid for his deposition during the hearing. “Mr Khurshid and Sundar Raman’s deposition in the arbitration made our case stronger,” he said. Raman was the COO of the Indian Premier League.

The ICC panel did urge the two countries, with frosty diplomatic ties, to consider revicing bilateral cricket. “The Panel expresses the hope that political considerations will not long prevent that desire from being fulfilled,” the judgement’s conclusion read.

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Published on November 20, 2018
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