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BCCI warned PCB and said, ‘We are not done yet’

Photo: The Quint

DUBAI: The International Cricket Council on Tuesday dismissed the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) claim for compensation from the Indian cricket board over its refusal to honour an agreement to play bilateral series.

“Following a three-day hearing and having considered detailed oral and written submissions, the Dispute Panel has dismissed the PCB’s claim against the BCCI,” the ICC said in a statement. “The judgement…is binding and non-appealable.”

The PCB had demanded 70 million dollars in compensation from India, saying that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2014 had guaranteed six India-Pakistan bilateral series between 2015 and 2023, four of which would be hosted by Pakistan.

Following BCCI’s refusal to play citing the Indian government’s objections, PCB filed a notice of dispute with the cricket’s governing body last November claiming damages from the Indian cricket board.

The MoU was a reward to Pakistan for backing the “Big Three” plan according to which India, Australia, and England had the major share of power and revenues of world cricket.

According to the agreement, the six tours would include up to 14 Tests, 30 one-days and 12 Twenty20 internationals.

However, that arrangement fell apart and the BCCI refused to accept the MoU as a legal document, dismissing it as a “piece of paper”.

India-Pakistan ties, including sports and cultural contacts, plummeted after the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which left more than 160 people dead.

There has been just one bilateral tour since, when Pakistan visited India to play two Twenty20s and three one-day internationals in December 2012 and January 2013.

MoU or Draft Document?

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, ICC Judgement

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, ICC Judgement.

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

We are happy that our stand has been vindicated. What PCB termed as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was just a proposal letter. I would like to thank the BCCI legal team as well as everyone who worked on this arbitration, said Vinod Rai, Chief – CoA.

CoA Chief Rai however said the board were not done and would now be filing 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, said Vinod Rai, Chief – CoA

PCB terms decision ‘a disappointment’

PCB, in response to the ICC dispute panel’s dismissal of its case against BCCI, termed the decision a “disappointment” and said it will determine the future course of action after detailed deliberations and consultations with its stakeholders.

“In relation to the proceedings brought by PCB against BCCI, the PCB notes with regret the decision of the Disputes Panel of the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee,” PCB said in a press release.

In 2017, PCB had claimed that BCCI had breached an agreement that it had signed with PCB on 9th April 2014 and had referred the matter to ICC’s Dispute Panel. Following a lengthy disputes resolution process, the announcement of the decision today has come as a disappointment for PCB.

“PCB will determine its future course of action in this regard after detailed deliberations and consultations with its stakeholders,” the board added.

Why PCB Sued BCCI

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 was just an informal document between the two boards.

The Indian Board also said that bilateral cricket with Pakistan was subject to government clearance, which they had not received since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

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