Daily Telegraph

THE International Cricket Council have voted 11-1, with one abstention, to move their headquarters from Lord’s, where they have been based since their creation in 1909, to Dubai. The move is expected to take place in April.

David Morgan, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, voted for Dubai along with the other nine Test-playing countries. Of the three countries which represent the associate members on the ICC Board, Kenya voted for Dubai, Israel abstained, and Malaysia voted against. Malaysia wanted a move to its own capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The vote took place three weeks ago but the ICC have not yet made the announcement as final negotiations with Dubai are ongoing. Singapore has also made an attractive offer but ICC sources say they are on course for Dubai.

As revealed by The Daily Telegraph on Dec 13, the vote came following the failure of the Government to grant the tax concessions the ICC sought. In order to avoid United Kingdom taxation the ICC have a financial company based in Monte Carlo and make sure that all matters relating to finance are dealt with outside the UK.

Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia came up with attractive tax concessions which would have allowed the ICC to be based in one headquarters, but last June, just as the ICC were to vote, UK Sport wrote saying that they would seek to obtain such tax concessions.

When the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, failed to mention any such concessions in his pre-Budget statement in December, UK Sport informed the ICC that the Treasury had not agreed.

Following the Daily Telegraph revelation, Richard Caborn, the sports minister, wrote to Ehsan Mani, the president of the ICC, suggesting a meeting.

Mani replied that the decision had been made and that the ICC had to act according to their members’ interest. However, he agreed to meet the minister to listen to what he had to say and that meeting will take place this morning at the offices of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Caborn told me: “I have a brief in front of me and there are a number of issues I want to discuss. I understand the reasons for the move are not just tax but there are also questions of broadening the base of the ICC and repositioning it as a global game.

“Many of the Commonwealth sports are going through that process and badminton is considering relocating to Kuala Lumpur. We have to face realities. But London will always be an important centre, both because of its geographical position and the facilities in banking, the City and other things it offers.

“Most meetings are held in London in any case. I will listen to what the ICC have to say and if there is action to be taken I will take it.”

© Mihir Bose


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