MCC calls for change in financial distribution system around bilateral internationals

The World Cricket Committee has also pushed for ICC full-member nations to ring-fence funds from their four-year ICC distributions to support the growth of women's cricket


The MCC's World Cricket Committee has called for men's Test series to be played over a minimum of three matches and for a wider restructuring of the financial distribution system in bilateral international cricket, stating that full-member nations have a responsibility to ensure the game's overall health.

The recommendations were made at a recent meeting of the group in Cape Town, during the SA20, where MCC president Mark Nicholas is part of the commentary panel. Graeme Smith, a member of the committee, is overseeing the tournament.

A lengthy statement from the committee declared that it "has long understood that the record media rights deal negotiated for broadcasting ICC events from 2024-2027 has delivered global cricket a generational opportunity over the upcoming four-year period".

"However, what has also become clear is that, despite this significant capital injection, many are doubting if it will deliver tangible universal gain. Whilst some have prospered, many full and associate members are clearly struggling. This gap is growing and if not addressed will affect the playing and, perhaps more importantly, the development programmes of the less-affluent, perhaps irrevocably, leading to a greater disparity of competitiveness.

"The WCC feels the ICC full-member nations should take a more collegial approach to ensure that this period concludes with the global game in the strongest possible health."

It added: "The WCC has long been aware of the game's global economics being heavily imbalanced and detrimental to touring teams who bear the cost of travel, whilst all revenue is retained by the host body based upon a historical expectation of 'quid pro quo' touring arrangements.

"With evidence emerging of this now creating inequalities the committee calls for this model to be reconsidered, with analysis to be conducted on the impact of home bodies absorbing these touring team costs as a way of redistributing income and adding greater context to all future bilateral cricket. This should form part of a broader audit of the current costs of the international game called for following the previous WCC meeting in July 2023.


West Indies' two-Test series in Australia ended without a decider (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

"The committee also feels the imbalance of the current FTP unfairly impacts some nations by restricting where valuable content can be played in calendar windows. From the commencement of the next cycle in 2028, it would be preferable for a more equitable split of matches to provide a more balanced opportunity for nations to access key dates and opposition."

The panel also questioned whether the game has budgeted for the anticipated challenges of the next media-rights cycle and whether sufficient current revenue was being directed into the women's sphere.

"The committee reiterates its call upon ICC full-member nations to now ring-fence a significant amount from their enhanced four-year ICC distributions to support the growth of women's cricket," it said.

"Beyond the expiry of this current funding cycle, the committee also recommends greater accountability of general distributions allocated directly to full-member nations is implemented, to ensure that future core funding is tagged for specific strategic purposes."

"It's time for courageous leadership and a united vision for the global game," said Kumar Sangakkara, who chairs the group.

"Whilst the opportunities for cricket are enormous, the challenges are equally great and there must be stronger sense of collegiality amongst full members and all stakeholders for cricket to thrive."

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