Howzat – a representative board that works well

We all know that representative boards bring challenges related to partisanship but they pale into insignificance when compared with the troubles that arise when the representatives don’t enjoy equal status at the boardroom table.

Just ask the International Cricket Council (ICC) who, about three years back, allowed something of a coup d’état – orchestrated by the so-called ‘Big Three’ of India, England and Australia – to occur.

They would stand alone, above and more important than the other seven full members, presumably as beacons of benevolence.

They would be given a greater slice of the revenue pie, with the added freedom to pick and choose who they would play against, how many Tests the series would comprise and how frequently these contests would occur – and you can be sure they weren’t clamouring to host Zimbabwe or Bangladesh to five-Test series’.

No, their gaze was on regular and highly lucrative home and away series’ against each other…and who could blame them, other than the also-ran members left to feel inferior and scrap for the crumbs.

They would also rotate the chairmanship of the ICC among themselves for the next three terms, and they’d enjoy permanent membership on the most powerful committees of the ICC.

Its governance was ordinary at best, it was an ill-advised template, and it couldn’t – and didn’t – last, with the ICC voting earlier this year to restructure the revenue model and amend the governance structure to give all members equal clout.

India, the major revenue beneficiary among the ‘Big Three’, was understandably vehemently opposed to the changes, with subdued opposition also coming from Sri Lanka, while all the rest – barring Zimbabwe’s abstention – gave it their full support.

Assuming the ICC board votes in favour of the new financial model and governance at its April meeting, cricket will be the winner as it will signal that the board understands it is the custodian of the game as a whole.

It is there to grow the sport, protect and nurture it, take it to new frontiers and pass it on to the next generation in the best possible shape.

And that can only be achieved when representatives enjoy equal status…and leave any selfish behaviour favouring the nation they represent at the door, choosing rather to display admirable bipartisanship.

Which brings us to a convenient segue to another representation issue that was in the news at around the same time.

The Cory Bernardi episode.

The Federal Government is intended to be representative of the people, and in Cory Bernardi’s case, he was elected as a representative of those who had voted in sufficient numbers to have a Liberal senator in the Senate.

One cannot switch hats and then remain in the Parliament or Senate with any sense of decency, for the simple reason that they no longer represent those who put them there.

And despite lofty protestations, we cannot escape the fact that the only courageous and principled thing to do is to resign – but don’t hold your breath, all sides of politics have been guilty of this behaviour for eons.

Until next time,
Kate.

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