Panel working on ICC Constitutional Reforms: Structural changes required for cricket’s world governing body


The Governance Committee of the International Council (ICC), headed by Lawson Naidoo, has been working on constitutional reforms for the world’s governing body. The broad brief for the Committee- which has been called the Naidoo panel – is to ensure that the governance of cricket’s world governing body is in line with the sport, its global strategy and vision and also to ensure that it is in the best possible shape to deliver on that strategy.


What is the ICC?

The ICC is a global federation currently comprised of 105 nations.

It is responsible for the coordination, governance and promotion of the sport of cricket worldwide.

Within its remit is the promotion of the integrity of the sport of cricket, employing and deploying staff to carry out its anti-corruption, anti-doping, and anti-racism programmes, and the pursuance of a range of development opportunities.


The ICC has had governance issues

Although it may not have had the high profile scandals of some other sports – football, boxing, and wrestling are three examples that spin got mind – the ICC has had its own fair share of governance issues.

The former chairman of the organisation Narayanaswami Srinivasan, is facing several investigations, involving betting on Indian T20 league matches. And he is also implicated in a number of other potentially illegal activities through his various business interests.

And then chief executive Manu Sawhney was placed on gardening leave after an independent report found that he had presided over a toxic workplace culture which included targeted acts of bullying against certain staff.


Direction of travel

In the past decade there has been a change of the direction of travel by the ICC. In 2014 reforms were made intended to give more power to the so-called Big Three – India, Australia and England. At that time their cricket boards had argued that their countries generated the most income and audiences, and, therefore, they were entitled to the greater share of revenues when it came to the distribution of income from major tournaments like World Cups.

However, these reforms were later reversed in favour of a more equitable distribution of revenues, although not the equal share that some members had wanted.


India are still the big dogs

Despite this India are still the big dogs in the room, and the BCCI the most powerful and lucrative cricket board in the world. Whilst Cricket Australia have flirted with bankruptcy and their English counterparts forced to make redundancies during the Covid pandemic, their Indian counterparts continue to go from strength to strength, in no small part due to the continuing and growing popularity of the Indian T20 league.

It means that the BCCI’s voice must always be listened to whenever discussions about the future of cricket take place. The ICC knows that if the BCCI were ever to threaten a breakaway, they would likely find willing support from some of the other more powerful cricket boards.


More full members

In 2017, Ireland and Afghanistan, after a decade of playing top-class international cricket, were granted full member status by the ICC, meaning that they could start to stage test matches and enhancing the value of the sport in the country.

There are other countries waiting in the wings for their chance, with Scotland and the Netherlands likely to be the next in the queue.



Despite the growing importance and popularity of the women’s game, there is an acknowledgement that they are under-represented in the upper echelons of the ICC. The appointment of Indra Nooyi as a director to the ICC Board was a step towards addressing the issue, but more still needs to be done, and it is accepted that there needs to be more female faces sat around committee tables.


Who sits on the Naidoo panel?

Apart from Naidoo himself – a highly respected constitutional law expert and currently the executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement for the South African constitution – the panel comprises of five other members.

They are ICC chief Greg Barclay, deputy chair Imran Khwaja, the head of New Zealand cricket Martin Snedden, the head of Brazil cricket Matt Featherstone, and independent director Indra Nooyi.



Although the panel has stressed that it is a long-term working group, some of their recommendations could be discussed at the ICC’s annual conference, which is to be staged in Birmingham later this month. That does not mean, however, that there will be any immediate structural changes.




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