'It’s a matter of great pity' - ex BCCI legal cop questions India's lion's share in ICC money pot

The former legal and investigation head of the cricket board questioned Indian officials' right to claim a giant share of the ICC broadcasting pool. 

Neeraj Kumar, the BCCI's former investigating and legal head, has questioned the Indian board's push for a lion's share of the ICC money pot, which would leave the rest of the cricket globe sharing a sum of 62.5% of the total income the governing body generates from selling 2024-27 world events to global broadcasting giants. 

As per a report published by the ESPNcricinfo ahead of the annual general meeting of the ICC where the money pie for all the major events could be ratified this June, the BCCI could be in for a bumper financial moolah, receiving a jaw-dropping 38.5% of its own from the total pool, amounting to USD 230 million over four years. 

The model would give the next best England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) only 6.89% of the ICC earnings while eight of the 12 full members will have to settle by 5% from the governing body. The 93 associate member countries will be further marginalised if the BCCI get their desired allocation, having to divide just $67.16 million between themselves over four years. 

The revenue-sharing model favouring India by such alarming distance has been a bone of contention for the rest of the world and cricket experts, worrying about the seismic impact of a heavy skew likely to impact other countries' ability to invest in their programs and retain their playing depth amidst rampaging domestic T20 league market. 

For Kumar, it's "a great pity" for the world game. The board's former top cop, involved in legal handlings of the infamous spot-fixing scandals in 2000 and 2013, claimed his ex-employers don't even deserve such a major payout given they have a history of wasting money without proper accounting of finance. 

Former BCCI cop questions board's lion's ICC share 

Speaking to Australian-based 'The Age', Kumar said when the BCCI top brass argues for a bigger share of the pie by citing India's mighty powerful financial muscle as a cricketing market with over a billion fans assisting the game's overall growth, a counterquestion shall be raised on the board's ability to invest the same the right way. 

The question Kumar posed to the BCCI comes at a time when they haven't released audited accounts details since 2017 on their website. The ICC's rule book commands full members to provide "fully audited acccounts" for the previous four years. 

"If people expect a bigger share of the pie for India on the grounds that we are a big country and we want to develop cricket, they should first be asked, what have you done to develop cricket until today? Show me," Kumar was quoted as saying by The Age. 

"It’s a matter of great pity that we are so rich and so much money is distributed to our states and never accounted for," he added. 

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While the BCCI continues to take credit for the development of the game in the country with state-of-the-art facilitation of the sport across the vast geographical land, Kumar accused the situation is different in ground reality, where the growth of the game is funded mainly out of private backing, not by the Indian cricket authorities and their vision. 

"At the lower levels, the situation continues to be pathetic. If anyone was to ask the BCCI, what are the various programs you’re running to develop cricket at the grassroots level, they would have very little to show for it."

“Would you believe in such a huge country we have one national cricket academy and that’s it. There is the pace academy run by MRF in Chennai, but you show me which great academies the BCCI has setup or is funding? There are none," he said.