ICC to probe rebel organisation amid fears of split

Wednesday 13th May 2015 07:22 EDT

The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed it was investigating the registration of company names which it regarded as of "concern to the sport of cricket" as reports of a rebel organisation which might split the game continued to emerge.

Reports said that an Indian media conglomerate, the Essel Group, had attempted to register the company name "Australian Cricket Control Pty Ltd" and had made similar efforts in other cricket-playing nations. Owned by billionaire Subhash Chandra, the driving force behind the ill-fated rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL), Essel issued a statement saying they were "geared up to enter the sports business at a global level, focusing on cricket".

"The ICC is aware of certain recent registrations which are of concern to the sport of cricket, and the matter is under investigation," an International Cricket Council spokesman said. Whether it is merely an international Twenty20 league or a full scale assault on the ICC's governance of the game, it is clear some challenge to cricket's status quo is afoot.

Cricket Australia dismissed as "highly speculative" media reports that Michael Clarke and David Warner would be offered $40 million and 10-year contracts to play in a rebel league.

A report said Essel, which through its Ten Sports channel owns rights to cricket around the world but not in India, had registered 15 city-based leagues in India. "We have a massive plan for cricket in India and groundwork has been going on in many states," Naresh Dhoundiyal, a senior Essel Group official, said.

"I can't give you details of the project as it is going to be made public in the next six months."

Lalit Modi, who helped set up the lucrative IPL Twenty20 league before falling out with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said he had been approached by Chandra to get involved in a plan to set up a new global governing body but had turned him down.

"Subhash is a powerful body no doubt but it is a foolish plan at the moment," he said in an interview. "But he does what he wants and I wish him all the luck. It could be very close, who knows? If he presses the button and puts the money on the table things could start very quickly. The ICC should be fearing him."

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