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BCCI vs ICC tax issue: Exemptions unlikely as per Govt rule, global body cites ‘promised timeline’

Normally, the ICC seeks exemption on excise duties for importing TV production equipment and ticketing.

PTI | New Delhi |

Tax exemption for future global cricket events in India has once again become a bone of contention between the BCCI and ICC as the former gears up to host the 2021 T20 World Cup and 50-over showpiece event in 2023.

The ICC and BCCI have had a long-standing feud on tax exemptions since the 2016 World T20 in India.

An ICC spokesperson said that both parties are trying to reach an amicable solution.

“The ICC and BCCI have been working in partnership to address the issue of tax exemptions for ICC events that is a requirement of the host agreement signed by all parties at the beginning of the cycle in 2015 and this work is ongoing,” the spokesperson told PTI.

“There are certain timelines within the agreements that we collectively work towards to ensure we can deliver successful world class events and continue to invest in the sport of cricket.

“In addition to this the ICC Board agreed clear timelines for the resolution of the tax issues which we are guided by,” the spokesperson added.

While the outgoing ICC chairman Shashank Manohar and chief executive Manu Sawhney have been in constant touch with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah, the BCCI top-brass didn’t like the tone of mail sent by the parent body’s legal head Jonathan Hall.

Hall, in his mail, has written about the BCCI not adhering to timelines on committing to tax exemptions as per the agreement.

“The tax structure is not decided by the BCCI but by the Indian government. It is our government that decides whether exemption will be possible or not. For the record, Formula One also wasn’t given tax exemption,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.

Prior to 2016 World T20, the BCCI got tax exemptions for global events, as stated in an earlier documentation of the erstwhile Committee of Administrators (COA).

Normally, the ICC seeks exemption on excise duties for importing TV production equipment and ticketing. But in this case, Star Sports, which also has the BCCI’s home match rights, has a set up in India. This had been the bone of contention during 2016 Word T20 also and that matter is up for hearing in the ICC tribunal.

“We understand that as the nomination process of new ICC chairman starts on Tuesday, suddenly there has been a flurry of communication. You can be rest assured that T20 World Cup in 2021 and 2023 ODI World Cup is going nowhere.

“As far as timeline is concerned, we had told ICC that unless lockdown is lifted, we can’t have discussions with government officials,” the influential member said.

Even an ICC Board member said that discussions should be on to find a plausible solution as the first deadline for tax exemption was December, 2019.

The tax issue finds mention in a COA document of July 6, 2019, when the BCCI legal team was asked to get in touch with a British law firm as legal cases pertaining to ICC falls under the UK law.