Dubai: The fate of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November, will now be known next month as the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to postpone a final call on it in it’s crucial Board meeting on Wednesday.
While the ICC had been under pressure to take a decision on the showpiece in view of logistical nightmare it could pose for movements of players and officials in the times of COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Executive Manu Sawhney put things in perspective in a statement: “We will only get one chance to make this decision and it needs to be the right one and as such we will continue to consult with our Members, broadcasters, partners, governments and players and to ensure that we make a well informed decision.”
Incidentally, the ICC received a major shot in the arm in their pursuit to deliver the event on time following a public assurance from the Australian sports minister Richard Colbeck in the Indian media on Tuesday. It’s common knowledge, though, that any change of dates of the event may open a window for India to stage the cash-rich Indian Premier League.
‘‘The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board today agreed to continue exploring a number of contingency plans regarding the future of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 until next month whilst planning for delivery of the events in the scheduled window is ongoing,’’ a ICC statement said.
‘‘The Board expressed its desire to continue to assess and evaluate the rapidly changing public health situation caused by COVID-19, working with key stakeholders including governments to explore how the events can be staged to protect the health and safety of everyone involved. This contingency planning process will evaluate health and safety, cricket, partner and host considerations ensuring any decision taken is in the best interests of the sport, its Members and fans,’’ it added.
The Board discussed the ongoing issue of tax exemptions required for ICC events and agreed to extend the deadline given to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to provide a tax solution to December 2020. The tax exemption for major events, incidentally, had been a bone contention between the ICC and the Indian board since the last major ICC event hosted by India - the 2016 World T20.
Meanwhile, the Board received an update on the independent investigation into confidentiality of Board matters, as the leakage of some classified information to the media caused major concern for some of the members in the last meeting on May 28.
The enquiry, which is being led by the ICC Ethics Officer, will be supported administratively by a sub-group of the Board, comprising Independent Director Indra Nooyi and Chair of the F&CA Ehsan Mani. All Members of the Board and ICC Management are party to the enquiry.
Meanwhile, the ICC has promised to exercise the “common sense” approach if players opt to express solidarity to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
“The ICC stands against racism and is proud of the diversity of our sport. We support players using their platform to appropriately express their support for a more equitable society,” an ICC spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“We will exercise a common sense approach to the implementation of regulations in relation to this issue and they will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the match officials,” the spokesperson added.