International Cricket

India could lose 2021 ICC Champions Trophy hosting rights if govt does not give tax exemptions

World cricket’s governing body will look for alternative countries in a similar time zone while it negotiates with the Indian government.

India could lose the hosting rights of the 2021 Champions Trophy and any future International Cricket Council-organised tournaments if the Indian government does not provide tax exemptions to the world governing body.

The ICC, in a meeting on Friday, expressed its concern about the absence of a tax exemption in India, which it said was a “standard practice for major sporting events” around the world.

In a press release, the ICC said that it will continue to talk to the Indian government regarding the matter along with the Board of Control for Cricket in India. However, it directed the ICC management “to explore alternative host countries in a similar time zone for the ICC Champions Trophy 2021”.

This means that India could lose the tournament’s hosting rights to neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.

“The Indian government used to give tax exemption to the ICC till the 2011 World Cup,” a BCCI official told The Times of India. “However, in the case of the 2016 World Twenty20, which was held in India, the goverment refused to give any tax exemption. The ICC and its media rights holder Star Sports made repeated requests in this regard, but the tax authorities didn’t budge. Star Sports thus had to pay 10% TDS on its media rights income for the event.”

However, another unnamed BCCI official told The Indian Express that this was “nothing but an attempt to pressurise the Indian government” and warned that the ICC “may regret taking any decision that may be detrimental to BCCI’s interests”.

The same official then targeted ICC chairman Shashank Manohar, who in his capacity as BCCI president in 2009 had moved the Indian Premier League to South Africa in 2009. “The comment made by him then, that the IPL was shifted out due to the attitude of the Indian government, was made against the will of the BCCI’s Working Committee and was one of many blunders of Mr Manohar that cost the BCCI deeply,” the official said.

“It would be another blunder by another organisation being headed by the same man to unnecessarily rub the Indian government the wrong way, especially after the support that the government extended during the conduct of the ICC World T20 in 2016,” the official added.

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