Home > Scotland > Opinion: “Gone as far as we can go…”

Opinion: “Gone as far as we can go…”

Scottish Captain has voiced his opinion in what is a very logical question.

What heights does the world expect an associate team to reach before they consider them good enough for a test status? Forget test status, for a higher funding? Obviously, they cannot be required to beat Australia before the ICC takes them seriously. The world cup showed the gap between Australia and the other test countries, so obviously some other format has to be figured out in which it is decided that an amateur team is good enough for extra (more than HPP) funding. This extra funding would need to be something in the vicinity of $1mil/year.

Perhaps a combined ranking system can be made for the teams. Get some way of a combined ranking based on their senior team, A team, U19 team and intercontinental team. The top 4 from that ranking can be given the $1mil each for that year.

Indegenous support is obviously a more desirable way. But what if it is not there enough to sustain the sport? There has to be some way to kick starting the process.

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Categories: Scotland
  1. Ram
    June 24, 2007 at 1:07 am

    It’s getting to a point where the ICC have to change and change quickly their line of thinking towards this whole issue…1. Zim getting $11.5 million from the WC..enough said but nothing done…2. Ridiculous distribution of funding amts to various Associates..It isn’t rocket science to figure out that spending $1 on Kenya, Zim or Uganda isn’t the same as spending $1 on Ire, Sco or Neth…If the ICC really means equal treatment, then European countries should get many more $$ than their African or Asian counterparts..otherwise we’ll have the skewed development Wright is referring to..maybe someone can make an article on this with better numbers than what the ICC offers?

  2. Roland Ilube
    June 24, 2007 at 2:42 am

    Ram,

    I’m struggling to follow your line of argument here. Are you suggesting that European associates should receive more funding than their African/Asian counterparts? If so, can you expantiate on why you think this should be the case?

  3. June 24, 2007 at 4:57 am

    I dont think that European associates should get more money than African counterparts…… I dont see how the ICC can actually pull that off………

    But I do feel that a standard of $1mil/year should be set for the associates that ICC is expecting to take the professional step…… currently, I can identify 3 countries where this should be done, and they are Ireland, Scotland and Kenya…..

    As Wright has said,

    Money -> professional setup -> higher standard -> more competitive team -> attract more crowds and higher profile -> more money into the game

    the Money as the first step needs to be given by the ICC if it cannot be generated locally……..

  4. Ram
    June 24, 2007 at 6:00 am

    I think handing out equal amounts to all countries will always result in skewed development with the African/ Asian countries benefitting more than their European/American counterparts…

    Let’s say an African country requires around $500K to professionalize the top 18-20 players and arrange a full set of fixtures for its national, A and U19 teams while a European/American country requires say around $1.5 million to do the same…If we were to give $1 million to each country, on one hand, we would have African boards embezzling the excess amount (as is/was the case with KCA, ZCU, UCA to a lesser extent) while European nations would still struggle or may be just about manage to professionalize the setup…Also remember that marketing/advertising costs to raise the game’s profile and attract people to the games requires much more money and effort in European countries than in Africa…Now, if we were to instead distribute the money according to individual boards’ needs, the money saved from what the African countries would’ve got can either be paid to struggling European countries or maybe to even one additional country like Denmark or Argentina who’ll now be a part of the HPP…

    And, as for its feasibility, I think the ICC can promise the respective boards that they’ll fund whatever it takes to professionalize the setup and run the show, nothing less, nothing more…Even if the ICC on their own were to come up with skewed numbers, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue because the Associates will take whatever is given to them…In any case, if they can give preferential treatment to USA/UAE/China, I think this can be done…

  5. Roland Ilube
    June 25, 2007 at 4:44 am

    Ram,

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on this point. You appear to make two separate arguments as to why African/Asian associates should receive less funding than their European/American counterparts. The first one seems to be that the governing bodies of the former group cannot be relied upon to deploy the funds properly. Whilst I do not disagree with some of the examples you cite in support of this contention, I think this is a very dangerous generalisation to make; one has only to consider the case of the USACA to see that mismanagement is not the preserve of certain parts of the world.

    Your second point relates to the relative purchasing power, in cricket development terms, of a dollar in different regions. Whilst it in an economic reality that $1m may go further in Uganda than it does in Scotland in this respect, I think that this is only one variable in a complicated equation. Allow me to table a couple of other issues which I believe should be considered in the same context: Firstly, the largesse of the ICC is not the only source of revenue for these bodies; if one looks at one other important source of funding, namely sponsorship, I would posit that countries like Scotland – whose latest sponsorship deal with Lloyds TSB was reputed to net them around £300,000 – have an advantage over places like Uganda – whose top cricketers are prepared to cross the globe unsupported in search of better compensation for their talents – when it comes to attracting significant corporate funds. Secondly, if I carry your argument to its logical conclusion would you make the level of prize money in ICC tournaments dependent on who actually won the tournament? This would seem like an undesirable and indeed untenable situation. Overall I feel that there is a risk that going the route you suggest would, amongst other things, exacerbate the instances of cricketers acting as economic migrants, gravitating to the countries where the salary levels are most attractive. Would this be a good thing for the development of the game?

  6. Ram
    June 25, 2007 at 6:35 am

    Roland,

    The objective of the ICC is to ensure equitable development among its deserving Associate members which can be achieved only by adopting a suitable funding policy that takes into account the relative purchasing powers of the $…We must remember that the ICC doesn’t have unlimited funds for its development program and so must make wise use of its money across all its members (which is why I quoted the mismanagement of the various African boards)…Why should a Kenya or Uganda that needs $500K annually get $1 or 2 million just because the European boards need so much?…As you said, we must also remember that the boards shouldn’t become dependent on ICC funding and should constantly look for indigenous financial support…As I said earlier, the ICC can instead use that money on another country like Denmark or Namibia who are now a part of the HPP…

    As for your comparison between Sco and Uganda on corporate sponsorship, I don’t see your exact point…If the game enjoys reasonably good profile in a country, attracting sponsorship shouldn’t be a huge issue as long as the economy isn’t too small…The Lloyds TSB sponsorship you mentioned is mainly for Scotland’s development programs and not for its players…Infact, if I’m right, Uganda’s corresponding development programs and domestic championship (that are bigger than Scotland’s) are all well funded through corporate sponsorship…

    And…about the prize money, it’s just a token for appreciating good performances and are hence mostly distributed to the players and don’t go to the respective national boards…They are not salaries or compensations for playing cricket…No player would or can survive on prize monies..

    Economic migration…again, I don’t quite get how “salary levels are most attractive”?…Even if they are, they are only on absolute terms but taking the relative purchasing powers into account, they’re not so attractive…If they were really so, we should’ve seen Pak/SA/SL/Ban cricketers migrating to Eng/Aus in the hope of better compensation….

  7. Roland Ilube
    June 25, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Ram,

    It is clear that you have a firm view on this and I don’t intend to waste hours trying to change it, so I guess we will have to agree to disagee. However, I’ll leave the matter with with these thoughts:

    – Be very careful making sweeping generalisations about mismanagement and corruption. Having spent over 20 years involved in cricket and business in both Europe and Africa I can tell you that these things happen everywhere

    – The GDP of Ireland is c$200bln, that of Scotland is c$170bln. There is no way that countries like Kenya (GDP less than $20bln) and Uganda (GDP less than $10bln) can raise anything like the same levels of corporate sponsorship, no matter how well managed and popular the game is.

    – Every week, here in the UK, I play against a Pak/SL/Ban first class cricketer being paid what in England would be considered a paltry sum to play cricket. You don’t see so many of them at county level because of eligibility constraints, whereas the fact that significant numbers of South African cricketers – who can get round the eligibility constraints faced by others – have turned their backs on SA to ply their trade on the UK county circuit is an issue that the UK cricket community has been debating at length in recent times. The economic migration of cricketers is not theory.

  8. Ram
    June 25, 2007 at 8:31 am

    Roland,

    Let me clarify a couple of points here…

    -I didn’t generalize the mismanagement of African boards, that’s why I quoted the various instances…maybe should’ve worded it clearer…

    -As for raising sponsorship, I’m NOT disputing the power of Ire or Sco vis a vis Ken or Uganda…I just said that if Ire/Sco can pay its players say twice the per capita income of that country, Ugan and Ken can also do the same…

    About the economic migration, I was only aware of cricketers from abroad coming over to Eng to play club cricket in summer and then returning once the FC season commenced back home, but migration?…But, are those cricketers migrating to Eng in search of more money than what they would otherwise get as a professional player in their homeland or is it because of lack of opportunities back home to ply their trade professionally?..If this is true, then this economic migration must affect all sports: soccer, rugby, tennis etc…Is that so?

  9. June 26, 2007 at 5:13 am

    I think some things need to be seen in perspective.

    If the ICC is ok with doling out $11mil….. and by some reports $10mil/year….. to Zimbabwe, then it should not be difficult for them, and neither unrealistic, to cut down on that amount by $3mil/year, and increase funding in Sco, Ire and Ken to $1mil/year each……. After all, what exactly is Zim achieving out of the ICC handouts?

    Ram mentions that there would be skewed development if equal amount was given to all associates……… Zimbabwe is perhaps the poorest test country….. average household income is in the $100-$200 range per month……. going by those numbers, the ICC grant of $10mil/year, even with corruption, should have had a million kids playing the game…. and the board could have made the national contracts into the most lucrative job in Zimbabwe…….

    If they are unable to do anything (in fact are taking it back) with all the resources, Zim board is definitely not up to the mark (duh!)……..

    It is in ICCs interest, and also in the interest of the Big 8 test nations, that the game expands into new territories, with their teams becoming more competitive …….

    Zim may be a lost cause…… ICC can probably cut their losses and move on…..

    There is an ICC meeting coming up……. something in terms of funding of top associates vis a viz Zim may be discussed there……..

  10. Roland Ilube
    June 26, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Ram,

    In terms of economic migration, soccer is the most obvious one. As an example which I know a lot about, the number of players of Nigerian descent who are now playing as english qualified players at all levels of the game is huge. If I went through the 4 top divisions of football on any given Saturday I could probably identify at least 50 players of Nigerian descent. Rugby I know a bit less about, but I do see a lot of SA born players playing in the guiness premiership. I don’t know much about tennis so I can’t comment there

    To return to cricket for a moment, you are right that there is a contingent of players who come for the summer and return in the winter. However, every year, some of those, if they can, decide never to return. In my club, we have a player of indian descent (not first-class standard, but a very good club player), who came for a summer 7 years ago, and hasn’t left since

  11. Bruce Gaskell
    June 26, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    With the majority of funds going through national boards rather than private clubs or franchises cricket is less vulnerable to economic migration than other sports. That said there have been concerning developmenats of late.

    The Kiwi player Marshall ruled himself out of selection for NZ in order to earn more as a county player. It’s a well troden path, mainly by South Africans, but few are as blatant (or honest) as Marshall.
    On a related point the selection of seasoned Southern hemisphere pros in the English national teams is starting to p*ss me off. I used to be a bit defensive about this as an England fan, but now I side with the critics. Petersen we could handle, the size of his ego transcended nationality, and his England tatoo is quite fetching, but every new ODI squad has some bat swinging vagrant from the South seas these days.

    As regards Rugby, the situation is much more developed. I read that around 500 Fijians earn a living playing rugby overseas, and send over $10million a year back to the Pacific. In this case it has probably gone beyond being a problem and is a tidy export earner for a small impoverished nation!

  12. June 28, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Ram,

    You seem to be suggesting that the rich should get richer at the expense of the poorer countries.

    Also, regards the KCA, in case you have completely missed out on news over the last two years, they got booted out and the new Cricket Kenya (note the change of name) administration are a completely different type of individual who are working very hard to get things right for Kenyan cricket. Hardly fair to penalize them because of mistakes made by a previous regime or because the GDP of Kenya in less than in Europe.

  13. Ram
    July 1, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Now..here’s something highly relevant to this topic…http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/07/01/sczimb101.xml

    I would like to draw attention to the following lines: “I don’t know if Zimbabwe will ever be able to come back to Test cricket,” Speed said. “But our duty is to help their cricketers to play cricket to the highest standard.”…The article also says that the ICC is powerless to stop Zim’s share of the WC profits…That’s ok but why has no action been taken on their future if the ICC itself isn’t confident about Zim returning to competitive Test cricket?…The ICC must ask itself that if Zim need $11 million for their cricketers to be paid well and be able to compete at the highest level, how much do the Associates need to do the same?…If not $ 11 million, atleast an amount significantly higher than what they’re currently being thrown…I wonder if the Associates have any representation in these decisions…

  14. July 1, 2007 at 3:07 am

    I was expecting the ICC meeting to result in some sort of a decision on Zimbabwe…… but….. well….. its the ICC, so I guess I should have been realistic in my expectations…….

    Why is the ICC bent on giving Zim players the oppurtunity to play at the highest standard when their players, whoever is even a UK or Aus Club level player, ends up going to play there? If that is how the game is miraculously supposed to develop in Zimbabwe then what is the point? If the ICC is bending backwards to give them an oppurtunity, they are not caring much for it………. I dont blame the players, they are doing whatever they feel is in the best of their interest…. as a body, the ZCU is unable to function according to expectations, now over a 2-3 year period, so I would have thought the ICC would say enough is enough…….. but they didnt…..

    ICC is also not putting Zim through some sort of a benchmarking structure, so their stnadard is likely to remain an mystery……… If Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands etc are not going to tour them either, then how would we even know the difference of playing standard……

    If the fact that Zimbabwe is the only test country lower than an associate does not move the ZCU into action…… I dont understand how all these ICC actions are serving Cricket in general………

  15. Ram
    July 2, 2007 at 2:58 am

    Just thought of putting this article (on rugby) here…http://www.sportbusiness.com/news/161867/irb-gears-up-for-record-world-cup-revenue to comparatively showcase how well the ICC runs its cricket…

    It says the IRB is spending around $130 million for the game’s development over a 3-year period, on the other hand the ICC spent around $55 million for the period 1999-2007 and continues to ignore the Associates at the expense of Zim…It also mentions enhanced revenue through TV rights from “emerging markets” like India, Russia, USA; any emerging markets for the ICC?…In the last 5-8 years, virtually all foreign sports have penetrated into the Asian subcontinent through the various sports channels…yet the ICC seems to be the only world body not interested in expanding the game by providing free live TV feed to non-existent markets…Is it rocket science to figure out that a few lucrative markets like China, Japan, USA, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark would give much more revenue 5-8 years down the line than the glut of ICC tournaments organized with the sole intention of slaying the golden goose that is the Indian cricket economy?…Increasingly, the ICC seems to be following its predecessors in keeping the sport confined to a select few, which clearly is not serving the game in its best interests…

  16. Cuen Lucas
    July 2, 2007 at 8:43 am

    The lack of free-to-air T.V. coverage can’t be blamed entirely on the ICC. I think the blame should be shifted more towards the GCC, who are the ICC’s commercial partner.

    Nasir, the Zim issue just goes to underline how much political nonsense goes on in the ICC.
    Basically when it comes down to the vote, Zimbabwe is able to come out unscathed because some member countries won’t vote against it in order to secure Zimbabwe’s vote for them should the need arise.

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