In light of revenue discrepancy issues, ECB CEO Richard Gould supports India as a responsible partner

Richard Gould, the CEO of the ECB, has come forward to defend the ICC’s proposed financial distribution plan, which outlines the expected earnings for various cricket boards over the next four years. According to the plan, the BCCI is projected to earn $230 million annually from 2024 to 2027.

Under the new revenue-sharing model, India is set to receive 38.5% of the total $600 million earnings for the four-year commercial cycle. Following India, the ECB stands to be the next highest earner, with a potential income of $41.33 million (6.89%), while Cricket Australia is projected to earn $37.53 million (6.25%).

The PCB is expected to make over $34.51 million (5.75%), whereas the remaining eight Full Members are set to receive less than 5% of the earnings. Out of the projected $600 million pool, the 12 Full Members will collectively receive $532.84 million (88.81%), while the remaining $67.16 million (11.19%) will go to the Associate Members.

The proposed financial distribution plans, which are awaiting ratification by the ICC, have faced criticism for potentially exacerbating financial inequality within the sport. Richard Gould, who serves on the ICC chief executives committee, acknowledges the existing disparity, drawing a parallel to the 2014 “Big Three” carve-up involving the BCCI, ECB, and CA.

However, he believes the current proposals are justified and trusts that India will act in the best interest of the global game, rather than solely their own. During an episode of The Final Word podcast, Gould expressed understanding for the allocation of value based on where it is generated.

He noted India’s dominant position, driven by their ability to generate revenue and propel the sport forward. With a population of 1.4 billion, a strong domestic league (IPL), ten IPL teams, and a prominent international team, India’s influence in cricket is substantial. While Gould recognizes the need for potential adjustments at the margins, he sees the proposals as a reflection of India’s revenue-driving capabilities and their role in advancing the sport globally.

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Gould’s opinion on the proposed ICC revenue model:

What fascinates me is India’s commitment to supporting the growth of cricket globally. While some may argue that the percentages allocated in the financial distribution should be equal, it’s important to consider the size of the market.

India plays a significant number of international fixtures, bringing interest and revenue to the host teams. It’s crucial to look at the bigger picture. I understand the concerns about financial inequality, but I also recognize the immense importance of India in generating revenues for the game. They make extensive efforts to act as responsible partners, traveling around the world and promoting cricket wherever they go.

It’s about finding a balance. Both India and the ICC engage in collective decision-making, demonstrating a genuine commitment to expanding and ensuring the health of cricket worldwide. It’s crucial to acknowledge the efforts made and the understanding that cricket’s growth and prosperity should be a shared goal.

Gould proposed a different approach to sharing the financial resources in cricket by suggesting that boards should pay touring sides, in contrast to the current system where host boards retain all the revenue generated. In recent years, this situation has highlighted the inequalities present in different markets, particularly in the context of Test cricket.

Several Full Member nations, such as West Indies, South Africa, and New Zealand, have been reconsidering their focus on red-ball cricket due to the costs associated with hosting Test matches. These costs are not deemed worthwhile in comparison to their domestic deals, especially when limited-overs fixtures offer greater financial returns. Gould believes that this situation should not prevail, and countries like England, where Test cricket flourishes, should take more responsibility to address this issue.

Gould highlighted the current system in bilateral cricket, where touring teams do not receive a fee or payment for their players when they visit England. The prevailing practice is that each board retains their own domestic revenues from home matches, while visiting teams receive their own domestic revenues when they travel abroad.

This arrangement accentuates the discrepancies between markets. Gould emphasized the need to address this issue by exploring ways to ensure that touring teams can financially support their players and compensate them appropriately, thereby incentivizing their continued participation in Test cricket.

Cricket will be being played around the world which is a ‘good thing’:

Regarding franchise cricket, Gould views the proliferation of T20 leagues worldwide as a positive indication of cricket’s expansion. He believes that the upcoming Major League T20 in the United States has the potential to tap into new, lucrative markets. The growth of T20 franchises and the emergence of various cricket leagues signify a significant increase in global cricketing activities.

This growth is viewed as a favorable development for the sport. Gould also points out the significance of potential “mother markets.” The United States, in particular, presents an intriguing market for cricket. Additionally, if cricket were to be included in the Olympic Games, especially when it is hosted in the United States (Los Angeles, 2028), it could serve as a pivotal moment for the sport’s exposure and growth. While acknowledging that challenges may arise in determining the best path forward, Gould urges focusing on the broader perspective. The overall picture reflects the expansion and progress of the game, despite potential obstacles along the way.

Gould final verdict:

When it comes to the Hundred, the ECB’s short-form competition, Gould reaffirmed his belief that the tournament is here to stay. He emphasized that the unique format, with its 100-ball structure, sets it apart from other competitions and fuels discussions about English cricket, allowing it to remain relevant. With the tournament now in its third year and tied to a significant broadcast deal until 2028, Gould firmly stated that the Hundred is essential for English cricket to effectively compete on the global stage.

Gould acknowledged the increasingly competitive nature of cricket globally, with every country striving to have a high-profile white-ball domestic competition. The ECB has invested considerable emotional and financial resources into the development of the Hundred over the years. The goal is to make it bigger and better, alongside enhancing the existing Blast tournament.

He emphasized that the intention is not to remove the Hundred from the cricketing landscape but to continue its growth. The ECB aims to elevate the sport as a whole, fostering a collaborative approach where everyone involved feels a sense of purpose and gains from the development.

Regarding the format itself, Gould stated that it is not currently under consideration for change. He acknowledged the strong support from broadcaster Sky in driving the competition forward and acknowledged the positive aspect of the Hundred creating a distinct identity within the cricketing world.

The tournament’s recognition and the ensuing debates surrounding it contribute to raising the profile of the game. Gould welcomed discussions and debates, as they generate interest and engagement, even if a significant portion of the coverage focuses on the politics and inner workings of the sport rather than the game itself.

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