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BCB objects to chance of losing Full Membership

Nazmul Hassan: 'Full Membership status of the ten current Test nations must not be compromised under any circumstances' AFP

Bangladesh is opposed to any changes in the ICC constitution that compromise a board's Full Membership, considering that status to be "irrevocable". BCB president Nazmul Hassan made that position clear in an official response to the ICC's proposed governance changes.

While other boards also expressed reservations on aspects of the proposed membership clauses, Hassan's objections are significant because he is part of the ICC's working group that prepared the new constitution. The ICC hopes to sign off on the draft this week, having passed it in principle via a vote in February.

In a letter to the ICC's chief operating office Iain Higgins, Hassan said the BCB directors were against proposals that open the possibility of Full Members being relegated to Associate status, as well as those that give Associate and independent directors a vote at the Board room table.

"After reviewing the draft, the Board's stand is that Full Membership status of the ten current Test nations must not be compromised under any circumstances and should be made irrevocable," Hassan wrote in his letter, which was seen by ESPNcricinfo.

As a significant part of the proposed governance overhaul, ICC chairman Shashank Manohar's working group looked at membership as a fluid concept and called for regular evaluation of Full Member status against a set of criteria. If a Full Member failed to fulfil certain requirements, it could be reclassified to Associate status.

According to the BCB, such reclassification should apply only to the Associates - most likely Afghanistan and Ireland - who were given Full Member status on a "temporary" or "provisional" basis. "The new proposal should only be applicable for the current Associate Members when they become 'Temporary / Provisional Full Member' of the ICC. However, once a 'Temporary / Provisional Full Member' gains Full Member status, then that status should become irrevocable."

To retain Full Member status, a Full Member needs to win at least one match against another Full Member in an ICC event. Every Full Member also needs to register at least four wins against a minimum of two other Full Members in bilateral series. Both these criteria need to be satisfied every eight years.

Hassan said that despite objecting to these criteria when the working group was forming the proposals, his views had not been incorporated.

The ICC working group also proposed that evaluation of Full Member status should be carried out by a Membership Committee with autonomous powers, and that the ICC Board would have "limited" say in the process. This point was contested by the BCCI, which wants the ICC Board to be the solitary decision-maker on status.

The BCB echoed the sentiment. "The Board of Directors of ICC must have full autonomy and final say on all membership issues with powers to re-examine all aspects of Member Committee's recommendations."

Hassan also argued against a clause that linked the performance of the women's team to Full Membership status, a concern the BCB shares with at least one other board. "Women's cricket should not be a determining factor for Full Membership criteria as most countries are still in the process of structuring and developing the women's game."

The BCB's views, which Hassan had voiced earlier, include a retention of the existing voting process. In the proposed constitution, the ICC Board is to be expanded to 15 directors, including an independent female director and Associate directors with voting rights. The chairman has a veto vote in extraordinary circumstances.

That is a radical departure from the existing system, where only the ten Full Members have voting rights. For special resolutions to be passed a 7-3 majority is needed, while for an ordinary resolution it is 6-4. However, under the new proposals the ICC has put all resolutions under one bundle: a 6-4 majority would be required to pass any resolution.

The ICC working group was scheduled to meet on Monday in Dubai to discuss concerns and suggestions from Full Members and Associates on the draft constitution, which contains a new finance model and a fresh governance structure. Hassan's concerns now have the potential to prevent the ICC Board from passing the new draft constitution.