After PWC exit, broadcast industry calls ICC media rights tender a ‘joke’, insists on e-auction | Cricket News

MUMBAI: Hours after PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC) stepped down as auditors for the ongoing media rights sale of the International Cricket Council (ICC), prospective bidders wrote to the game’s governing body, asking the latter to explain the accounting firm’s exit, and have also pressed for the rights to now be sold by way of an e-auction.
The broadcasters have raised serious concerns over the overall mechanism once again and urged the ICC to opt for e-auction as the “only process” to sell the rights.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah too has time and again asked the ICC to adopt e-auction as the process to sell rights. In fact, Shah – who successfully oversaw the sale of Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights in June this year – has specifically said that for sports federations that dispose of the functions of a public body, profits should be as important as transparency.
“Which is the reason the BCCI made sure that the IPL rights would be sold in a manner that no questions would be raised about the process. Ask a broadcaster and they’ll tell you how the IPL was sold at optimum value. But even if it wasn’t sold at optimum value, there’s no way you’re going to debate the processes that were in place,” say those tracking the ‘rights’ industry.

What has the ICC opted for instead? A convoluted process, lacking transparency, where they asked broadcasters to first submit a closed bid and then, if not ‘satisfied’, an e-auction process would be called for.
“Now, let’s dissect this. When it’s a closed bid, why wouldn’t you put your best number in the envelope? And if you’ve put your best already, what do you have left in the kitty to participate in the e-auction for? Does either make sense or both make sense?” say those tracking developments.
There are other member boards too, who like the BCCI, are raising questions over the processes put in place by the ICC and further ask “How exactly has this process been adopted? Who is responsible for the drafting of this tender document, because this is proving to be a global embarrassment for the ICC? For a body that has lawyers, top corporate leaders and cricketers as member representatives, such embarrassment won’t augur well”.
The industry is calling the drafting of this ICC tender “a joke”. And this at a time when PWC’s exit is already raising a stink.
The broadcasters say they are “surprised at the manner in which the ICC has handled” this development (PWC exit), but decided not to communicate with the bidders about their exit and neither provide a formal explanation.
“The least that one expects is that the process for auction of a global event that has the attention of so many people who love the sport be undertaken in a fair and transparent manner. We would request ICC to immediately confirm if PwC will be involved in the process going forward and if not, the firm that will replace PwC. We also request the ICC to provide the reasons that led to this development,” one broadcaster wrote to the ICC.
That said, almost every single broadcaster is urging the governing body to “safeguard the sanctity of the entire process” and the only way forward, say top industry executives, is by cancelling the multiple processes – which ICC is calling ‘Round One’ and ‘Round Two’ – and instead settling for an e-auction.
“The above development has dismayed us so much that in the absence of such transparency as requested, we may be forced to revisit our participation in the process,” a broadcaster wrote to the ICC.

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