Johannesburg: The ICC's endorsement on the banning of the ICL was not a result of arm-twisting by the BCCI, but of allowing its members autonomy in deciding which domestic tournaments to recognise, according to Norman Arendse, former CSA President. Arendse also confirmed that the ICC constitution was not changed in dealing with the ICL issue, as claimed by former IPL chairman Lalit Modi, but that clauses were added to its operating manual to clarify what constitutes disapproved cricket.
"There were no undue processes, incentives offered or pressure exerted on the ICC to outlaw the ICL," he told ESPNCricinfo, contradicting Modi's revelations that the BCCI essentially forced the global cricket community to freeze out the ICL.
Arendse, who served as CSA President in 2007 and 2008, was a member of the ICC's executive board at the time when the ICL and IPL were being conceptualised. "The issue of the IPL was tabled at an executive meeting," he said. "The BCCI informed the board of the ICL and the IPL and said that because the IPL was their creation, they were not prepared to endorse the ICL and give their players permission to play in it or for it to use their grounds."
The two 20-over leagues were the first sign that cricket was starting to venture into franchise territory and out of country-versus-country mode. The IPL presented the ICC with a never before experienced concern, because it was not simply a domestic competition, it would involve players from other countries and the potential existed for it to interrupt the international calendar. "There was concern at the time that there was a very real threat to international cricket and we could be seeing Kerry Packer number two," Arendse said.
The ICC's anxieties were fuelled because the idea of clubs leagues was mushrooming. "There was some talk of a franchise league being started in the USA and there was also an idea for an English Premier League. Actually, with money, they could start a league on the moon and it would work," Arendse said. That caused world's cricket's governing body to jolt into action to make sure the international game was safe.
"We had a lot of issues to discuss around it and questions for the BCCI," Arendse explained. "We had to ask the BCCI when they planned on hosting the tournament and if it would conflict with international touring commitments. For example, as CSA President, I was interested to find out if would clash with the South African summer."
With the questions arose a need for a policy to regulate the new competition. Arendse, an advocate by trade, was part of a three-man panel, which also included Giles Clarke, ECB chairman, and Modi whose function it was to draw up clauses regarding approved and unapproved cricket that would fall in line with the ICC's constitution. Arendse clarified that they were not tasked with redrafting the constitution, as Modi was quoted as saying. "The constitution was not changed at all," Arendse said. "That would have required a meeting with all the cricket playing countries who are affiliated to the ICC, not just the Full Members or Associates."
Arendse drafted the regulations, which came into effect on June 1 2009 and falls under section 32 of the ICC Operating Manual. "The ICC's rules have to be in accordance with UK law so we sought the advice of British solicitors in drawing up the regulations." Section 32.1.1 states that a match will be regarded as disapproved if "it has not been approved by the Member in whose territory it is played," and other clauses under the regulation state that that member countries may not participate in or release their players for any disapproved cricket.
The regulations take credence of the autonomy of member boards, which ultimately means that member countries have the right to make decisions regarding which tournaments they chose to sanction, independent of ICC interference. "If the BCCI has sanctioned both the ICL and the IPL, that would have been none of our business either and we would have had nothing to do with it," Arendse explained.
It also explains why the ICC will recognise the new Sri Lankan Premier League, even if it is part-privately owned. "If the SLC sanctions the tournament, the ICC will approve of it. Any non Sri Lankan players who want to play in the event have to get no objections certificates from their home board to approve their participation, but the ICC will recognise the tournament and all the other boards will too."