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International cricketers' union says ICC restructure about 'self-interest'

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JOHANNESBURG - Cricket's international players' union continued its criticism of the ICC for what it called poor governance and said Monday that changes handing greater power to India, England and Australia were about "self-interest and short-term deal making."

"It again highlights how poorly our game is governed," Federation of International Cricketers' Associations executive chairman Paul Marsh said in a statement.

Eight of cricket's 10 test-playing nations voted for the wide-ranging reforms at an International Cricket Council board meeting in Singapore on Saturday, giving the contentious proposals the backing they needed. Initial opponents South Africa and Bangladesh were won over — possibly under pressure or with offers of money-spinning tours from the big three — and only Pakistan and Sri Lanka abstained from the voting.

In the wake of the outcome, Zaka Ashraf was removed as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday after opposing the reforms and "mishandling Pakistan's case," according to a member of a new PCB interim committee.

On Saturday, Ashraf had told The Associated Press that he was "disheartened" with the results of the vote in Singapore, and was particularly troubled with the late change of stance from South Africa's cricket board, which had initially rallied the opposition but then went into negotiations with the Indian board.

"I couldn't sleep last night when Cricket South Africa told me they are going to vote in favour of the resolution," he said after the vote.

FICA's Marsh said the passing of the reforms, which give the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India, England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia a larger proportion of money and effective control over cricket's governance, was "a very sad day for our game."

"The final outcome had an air of inevitability about it once the process became clear," he said.

FICA has been a constant critic of the proposals for change since they were presented last month. In them, BCCI President Narainswamy Srinivasan will become ICC chairman from July and the big three countries were given permanent places and influence over a new executive committee and the finance and commercial affairs committee at the ICC.

The ICC approved the changes despite widespread opposition from players, former ICC officials and Transparency International, Marsh said.

"This should be an indicator to the future for all of us, where self-interest and short-term deal making will override the long-term health of the game and views of its key stakeholders," Marsh said. "FICA and its members will continue to oppose these changes in the interests of the game's future."

However, now with the 75 per cent majority among the 10 test nations that was required for such significant changes, the principles are likely to be formally approved by the ICC council.

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