In 2013, the International Cricket Council (ICC) had allotted India three major global tournaments—the 2016 ICC World Twenty20, the 2021 World Test Championship (this proposed competition was later replaced by Champions Trophy), and the 50-over World Cup in 2023. India successfully hosted the 2016 World Twenty20, which the West Indies won. But now are the Champions Trophy, and more importantly, the World Cup, slipping away from India’s grasp? There is some uncertainty about these tournaments after the ICC recently decided to look for alternate venues, at least for the 2021 Champions Trophy. There is also the Asia Cup, which could be held in India this year, in danger of being relocated, probably to Dubai.
But why would the ICC not hold its prestigious tournaments in the most lucrative market for cricket? The reason is an ongoing tussle between the world cricket body and the Indian government on taxation: The ICC wants full tax exemption; the government so far is not budging. Even for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20, the government had not exempted tax for the ICC’s official media rights holder, STAR India and STAR Middle East, and had deducted 10 per cent tax at source (Tax Deducted at Source, or TDS) from the broadcaster’s revenues generated from the tournament.
Before the India-vs-Pakistan World T20 match at the Eden Gardens, 2016
Now, the ICC is once again making an effort to get full tax exemption. Its officials have reportedly met top-ranking Indian finance officials—to no avail, so far. At a recent meeting of the ICC Board, its members expressed...