The BCCI and the PCB’s dispute over two unplayed bilateral series moved a step forward after the ICC constituted a three-man dispute panel four months after Pakistan decided to take the legal route in pursuit of its resolution. The hearings will take place in Dubai from October 1-3 and the decision of the panel will be final.
“The International Cricket Council today confirmed that the Hon Michael Beloff QC will chair the Dispute Panel in the matter of proceedings between the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Board of Control for Cricket in India,” the ICC said in a statement. “The other two members of the panel, which has been established under the Terms of Reference of the ICC Disputes Resolution Committee, are Mr Jan Paulsson and Hon Dr Annabelle Bennett AO, SC. The hearing will take place in Dubai from 1-3 October and, as per Article 10.4 of the Terms of Reference of the ICC Disputes Resolution Committee, the decision of the Dispute Panel shall be non-appealable and shall remain the full and final decision in relation to the matter and binding on all parties.”
The PCB claims up to $70million worth lost revenue from failure of the BCCI to play two series – in November 2014 and December 2015 – which were agreed by the boards in April 2014. Both series were officially slotted into the ICC’s Future Tour Programme (FTP) with Pakistan as host. However, amid a deteriorating political situation, the BCCI refused to honour that agreement.
The PCB, saying they had no option left, sent a notice of dispute to the ICC. Under the watch of the ICC, both boards met on a number of occasions to try and reach a resolution in good faith, to no avail.
In a final motion, a three-man dispute panel headed by Beloff with Paulsson (Pakistan representation) and Bennett (Indian representation) will have a three-day hearing at the ICC headquarters in Dubai. Beloff, incidentally, was head of the ICC tribunal which banned Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif for spot-fixing in 2011. The proceedings are likely to be conducted in private.
“Unless the parties agree to settle their dispute in the meantime, the Dispute Panel shall decide the outcome of the case following deliberation in private,” read the terms of reference. “They shall endeavour to reach a unanimous decision, but a majority decision shall suffice. No member of the Dispute Panel may abstain from voting on the outcome of any dispute, but any member may record a dissenting opinion which may be attached to the majority decision with the permission of the Chairperson of the Dispute Panel. “
The bone of contention is the original agreement between the two sides in 2014, which is expected to be a central pillar in the PCB’s arguments. It had agreed on both sides playing six series between December 2015 and November-December 2022, and also an effort to play a short limited-overs series in Pakistan (or a neutral venue) in November 2014. But amid tense relations between the two governments, any chance of a resumption in bilateral ties had always looked distant. And that has been the BCCI’s core claim all along – that it does not have government permission to play Pakistan.
India and Pakistan have not played a full series since the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, which India blamed on militants based in Pakistan. Pakistan visited India for a short limited-overs series in December 2012, but that did not do enough to thaw the frosty relationship.