The ICC panel hearing a dispute between the PCB and the BCCI could issue a "historical" judgment with reverberations for all intersections between sports and politics.
A three-person panel for the dispute, set up to arbitrate the PCB's claims for monetary compensation for two bilateral tours the BCCI failed to complete, concluded the procedure in Dubai on Wednesday.
There is no indication of when the panel, headed by Michael Beloff QC and including the legal heavyweights Jan Paulsson and Dr. Annabelle Bennett, will return a verdict, although it is not unusual in such cases, delay between four and six weeks.
Lawyers from both sides presented their cases for three days that began in what was described as a "tense" and "formal" atmosphere that remained "intense" throughout. A couple of officials compared it to the tension of a limited meeting between India and Pakistan.
The dispute centers on an agreement that the two boards signed in 2014 to play six series for eight years between 2015 and 2023. That agreement was the price that BCCI paid for the approval of the Big Three government changes by part of the PCB; those changes were voted for the first time before being reversed.
The PCB claims a compensation of USD 63 million for two series that it was supposed to hold in November 2014 and December 2015 according to the agreement, but that were not finally carried out. 19659002] The main reason for the BCCI's refusal to travel is political. The ties between the two countries have been tense since the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008 and BCCI officials have made it clear that the decision to travel ultimately depends on the Indian prime minister's office.
For that purpose, the appearance of the most prominent witness in the arbitration, Salman Khurshid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of India at the time the agreement was signed.
Officials and witnesses receive strict instructions not to speak publicly about the proceedings, but Khurshid explained to the panel that he was "beyond the control" of cricket boards to organize a bilateral series on the problematic prism of India-Pakistan relations .
"I gave my expert experience to the ICC panel and explained how the Indian government reacts to situations in which the safety of people is threatened," Khurshid said on Hindustan Times . "Fortunately, when I was a minister, we did not have to deal with such problems (crisis), but regardless of governments, could express how we would react to the fulfillment of obligations that are beyond the control of cricket boards."
The BCCI also argued that the agreement was a letter of intent that only It would become a binding agreement once government permission had been granted. The PCB accountant was that, according to English law, it is enough as an agreement.
Khurshid was one of the five witnesses who called the BCCI. Among the others were Sanjay Patel, the secretary of the board and signatory of the agreement, Sundar Raman, a key figure in the renovation of ICC, and Ratnakar Shetty, the administrative head of BCCI that was a conduit between the board and the government.
It also appeared was Shashank Manohar, the ICC president who was president of BCCI in 2015 when one of the series was scheduled (in fact, Manohar had shown an inclination to play the series subject to government approval). His presence as a witness of the BCCI while the president of the ICC looked at him with eyebrows: the PCB was not happy with his role as mediator in one of the meetings of good faith that the meetings had before this panel was established. However, N Srinivasan, the president of BCCI at the time of the agreement, and the then secretary Anurag Thakur drew attention. None of the witnesses were current BCCI officials.
The PCB, in contrast, convened only Najam Sethi, the chairman of its board of directors at that time, and Subhan Ahmed, the director of operations. At least for the eyes of PCB, the counting of witnesses is illustrative of the two approaches of the case: the PCB simplifies and focuses on what it believes most important: the letter of agreement, and the BCCI goes beyond that and in the circumstances in which it was created. under which it could operate.
Now only two results are possible: whether the PCB wins its claim or not. The panel can not force the reprogramming of the lost series. But as much as the money, both boards, and the ICC, will be relieved to receive some clarity for a long time about the most convincing but now dying rivalry of cricket.
The pair will not be found in the new show cricket event, the two-year trial championship starting next year. They are also not scheduled to meet in the next two-year cycle, or in the ODI concurrent league. That limits the rivalry to limited ICC events and other multilateral tournaments like the Asian Cup in the foreseeable future.
The closing arguments in writing must now be sent to the panel within a week, in which new arguments based on the evidence presented in the last three days can be presented.
Officials expect the decision to have an impact beyond cricket. The issues at stake, the participation of the government, the use of sport as a tool for diplomacy, but also the fact of being hostages of politics, resonate in several other sports. Any decision here, reached by a heavyweight panel with skilful legal minds, could be used here as a precedent in other sports where geopolitics can not help getting entangled