Najam Sethi, prior to his termination as Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) chairman, dedicated all his efforts towards resolving the dispute with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over the bilateral series matter.
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.
Earlier this week, 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.
After the verdict with Najam Sethi no longer in the driving seat, numerous sources claim that the verdict was very much expected despite Sethi terming it as a ‘strong case’.
Talking exclusively to a local media outlet, the current chairman of PCB, Ehsan Mani, claimed that he was “against the case from day one”.
Mani added that once he took charge of PCB, the matter was out of his hands and he could not shut down the dispute.
When I took the charge as PCB chairman, the proceedings of the case were almost over and we were on the weaker side so there was no option left we had to pursue it. I was told that before the decision was made regarding taking BCCI to the court over the matter, the board consulted leading legal experts from England’s Queen’s Counsel and they gave green signal for the case. But I believe in any litigation, there is all ways a risk.
After the verdict, now BCCI is going to file a claim against PCB for the recovery of their expenses.
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
Commenting on BCCI’s ultimatum of filing expenses recovery claim, Mani said if PCB had won the case, they would have done that same.
“Obviously, BCCI will file a claim against us for the recovery of their expenses as we would have done the same if the result was in our favour,” he added.
Sources revealed that Najam Sethi was advised against proceeding with the dispute as it was a lost cause.
Despite that, Najam Sethi approved a budget of 1 million Pounds for the compensation of the case. Not only that, if Pakistan were to lose the case, which they have, the losing party has to cover the expenses for both parties.
Najam Sethi relied more on British Based Lawyers than their own lawyers who told him that MOU is not legally binding.
So now, not only Pakistan failed to recover the $70 million from India for refusing to honor the said agreement, the losing party PCB will have to pay the BCCI’s expenses of legal advisors and so forth.
The sources also pointed fingers at Najam Sethi for backing India as part of ‘big three’. The sources also added that the bilateral series agreement was not a strong one and it was understood if India refused the agreement then Pakistan had no grounds to hold them accountable.
In order to consult the advisors and hold meetings with the ICC, Najam Sethi made several trips to England, which cost Rs. 80 million in total.
In the past, Najam Sethi has spent $650 allowance for international tours with an additional $300 for accommodation in a 5-star hotel; raising the total daily allowance to $950.
While responding on ICC’s decision Najam Sethi said the International Cricket Council’s decision of dismissing a compensation claim by Pakistan over India’s refusal to honour an agreement to play bilateral series is politically motivated.
“This is a political judgement and has been influenced by Indian politics. India has such strength in the ICC that no one can stand against it. India in the past has threatened to leave and form their own ICC if their demands are not met,” Sethi said while appearing on Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath.
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.