Asia Cup 2018 is going to be hosted by the Emirates Cricket Board on behalf of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). However in pursuit of cashing in on the juiciest clash anywhere in the world – India vs. Pakistan, BCCI has gone head-on with the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) over financials.
When the hosting rights of the Asia Cup 2018 came to India by turn, the first issue that cropped up was the question of hosting Pakistan in the country amidst the political tensions between the two countries. In line with the mandatory procedures, the BCCI wrote to the home ministry of the central government, the Prime Minister's office, and the union sports ministry to ask for the necessary directives.
The answer they received from the center was crisp and clear that they can host the tournament anywhere in the world except India if Pakistan participates.
BCCI then made the Emirates cricket board the host of the tournament and their decision has come back to bite them, as they are now embroiled in a battle with the CoA.
The members say by allowing Emirates Cricket Board to host the Asia Cup on behalf of India, the BCCI is making way for operational expenses to increase by more than double. The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is committed to an allotment of US$2.5m to host the tournament and members add: "The tournament could've been hosted in any of the ACC nations and the costs would've been less than half of what is being spent right now."
The Emirates Cricket Board is also eligible for maximum revenue of US$5.5m from ticketing revenue earned from the entire tournament and anything in the surplus of that USD 5.5m will come to BCCI.
The only thing that makes a tournament like Asia Cup viable financially is the clash between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, which may happen twice in the tournament and thrice if they reach the finals. With the tournament scheduled to be played in the ODI format this year and Star TV - official broadcasters - committed to nearly a USD 95m payout for the overall ACC rights, the stakes are high.
CoA - locked in a battle with the members - says the decision to shift the tournament to UAE and not any other neutral venue is based on certain justified and logical conclusions.
"Bangladesh has already hosted the tournament thrice. Some freshness needs to be induced. Second, UAE will ensure gate revenue like no other neutral venue because of the diaspora. Third, the expenses being incurred for 13 Asia Cup matches are still less than expenses BCCI had incurred for 15 Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in 2014," say sources.
However, the members see it as a clever design to ’gift’ the tournament to UAE and not any other country.
Also, the members are not convinced by the financials put up by the BCCI CEO office. "The figures being pedaled are hogwash. Why should India lose money for a tournament they don't need to host in the first place? It's a scam," said members.
The scheduling of Asia Cup 2018, to be played in September already has caused a furor, with Team India having to play two back to back matches against Nepal and Pakistan on successive days.
(With inputs from Cricbuzz)