ICC-BCCI Email Exchange Regarding Tax Exemption Disrupts Meeting
The controversy came to boil after an ICC’s mail said members is not keen to approve the request by the BCCI for the extension of the deadline to provide tax solutions for the 2021 World T20 and the 2023 ICC World Cup.
A tax dispute between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), took an ugly turn following an unpleasant exchange of emails between the two governing bodies, disrupting a scheduled teleconference.
According to a report in The Times of India, the pre scheduled ICC meeting concluded in less than two hours with the emails taking centre stage. Despite it not being a part of the agenda, the meeting took an unexpected turn with certain members suggesting that ‘the entire matter surrounding the tax solutions, email exchanges between the ICC and the BCCI and the media coverage around the whole episode needs to be revisited in all seriousness’. The meeting was postponed to June 10.
The ICC suggested the need for an independent investigation into the matter surrounding the World Cup tax solution and said it be led by the ethics officer of the international body. Manu Sawhney, CEO of the ICC, will give updates on the matter on June 10.
The controversy came to a boil after the disclosure of an ICC email that said members were not prepared to agree to the request by the BCCI for the extension of the deadline to provide tax solutions. The Indian Board wanted an extension ‘to June 30 or 30 days after the lockdown is lifted, whichever is later’ to provide tax solutions.
The reason behind the dispute is a host agreement that BCCI signed in 2018 with ICC’s commercial arm IBC (ICC Business corporation) to host the 2021 T20 World Cup and 2023 ODI World Cup in India. In accordance with the terms of agreement, the Indian government was supposed to provide tax exemption for the event. Upon its failure to do so the ICC sent a hard hitting email threatening BCCI of their rights to terminate the agreement.
The first email from the ICC to the BCCI was sent on April 7, two weeks after the Prime Minister announced a 21-day national lockdown. “…Clause 10.20 expressly requires BCCI to provide the IBC with an unconditional confirmation (on tax solutions) no later than 18 months prior to the start of the event (T20 World Cup in 2020),” the letter said.
The ICC further stated that the IBC had denied BCCI’s request for extension but did not share who in the IBC said so. No documents were provided by the governing body to confirm the claim made by the IBC. The BCCI was given time until May 18 to sort the tax issue with the Indian government but the board has asked for the deadline to be extended to June 30.
“Who are the IBC members who have said that? Are there documents to prove it? Is there evidence?” individuals related to the matter asked.
“Are they questioning the intentions of the Indian government here? When India is saying that a solution will be provided after the lockdown ends, where’s the problem? Or has it reached a stage where BCCI’s word doesn’t carry in international cricket circles anymore? This is aimed at the government and it’s not correct, especially given the extreme circumstances,” sources said.
“First of all there’s no confirmation yet that India is hosting the 2021 event. Read Cricket Australia’s request. Instead of clarifying that, the ICC is demanding answers from India. Isn’t the ICC answerable to cricket fans?” the source added.
One of the directors, with regards to the taxation issue, told TOI, “I have no idea what this is about. All I can share is that some days ago, I received a call from one of the board directors who said he was calling to inform me that the tax solutions matter is going to become a very serious issue. Until then, I hadn’t even heard about this”.
The ICC Board met via teleconference with all agenda items deferred until 10 June 2020 following a discussion, led by chairman Shashank Manohar, around the issue of confidentiality.
A number of Board members had raised concerns over this issue recently and felt it required immediate attention to ensure the sanctity and confidentiality of Board matters in line with the highest standards of governance.
The Board unanimously agreed to immediately initiate an independent investigation led by the ICC’s Ethics Officer and supported by global experts. The Board will be updated about this by the ICC CEO at its next meeting on 10 June 2020.
The Board also requested the ICC management continue with their discussions with stakeholders in exploring various contingency options in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the COVID-19 virus.
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