LONDON - South Africa have become the first major cricket nation to call on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to withdraw a draft plan that would give greater control of the world game to England, Australia and India. A "position paper" outlining the proposed changes is due to be discussed by the ICC's executive board next week.

But, ahead of that meeting, Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Chris Nenzani published an open letter to ICC president Alan Isaac on Monday urging the "fundamentally flawed" plan be taken off the table. One key proposal is for a four-man executive committee where the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Cricket Australia (CA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the three countries that bring most revenue into cricket, would all be guaranteed a place, with the other position selected by the trio annually.

On the field, there is also a suggestion of the creation of two divisions for Test cricket but with England, Australia and India all guaranteed to avoid relegation from the top tier because of their commercial importance. The proposals need seven votes from the ICC's 10 leading nations to pass. According to some forecasts South Africa, currently the world's top-ranked Test side, could see their share of future revenue fall below that of Pakistan if the new set-up, labelled "unconstitutional" by Nenzani, is adopted.

"These proposals should first be referred to the relevant ICC committees or sub-committees for proper consideration and to make recommendations to the ICC Board," Nenzani's letter to Isaac said. It added: "The proposal self-evidently is inextricably tied up with a fundamental restructuring of the ICC, which has far-reaching constitutional implications.

"The draft proposal is, therefore, fundamentally flawed as regards the process and, therefore, in breach of the ICC constitution. In the circumstances we propose that the draft proposal be withdrawn immediately given that the proper procedures have not been followed. In our respectful opinion, a more considered, inclusive/consultative, and properly constitutionally-ordained approach is required."

But not all boards from amongst 'the seven' were as scathing, with New Zealand Cricket director Martin Snedden, a compatriot of Isaac, saying of the BCCI-CA-ECB plan: "Don't jump to the conclusion what they're doing is not good for world cricket." The once close relationship between CSA and the BCCI appears to have declined markedly since former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat took up a similar position with his home board in South Africa.

Meanwhile, The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has called an emergency meeting to discuss proposed changes to the International Cricket Council (ICC) which some officials in the region believe could have devastating consequences for West Indies cricket. The proposed changes are contained in a working paper for a revamped ICC which will come before members as early as the quarterly meeting in Dubai Jan 28-29. A WICB release says the Board of Directors met by teleconference and discussed the issue Monday and will reconvene, again by teleconference, Wednesday to continue the discussion. "This is very serious as with West Indies playing second tier cricket, we may lose interest among the fans and this could prove detrimental," WICB director Baldath Mahabir said.

The WICB release lists the issues being discussed as ICC Group Structure Governance, Financial Model, Bi-lateral cricket and ICC events. "Anytime you have a situation where people are looking to divide and rule it could never be good. Looking at the proposals, this is a situation where power broking and sharing will go to three of the members and this cannot be healthy," said Mahabir, giving his personal view. "We are at a point where we need to expand the game and by bringing a model that is not inclusive would do damage to the sport down the road. This model would only lead to monopolising of the sport and I cannot see how this could be good for cricket."

Sri Lanka Cricket is set to oppose the proposed changes in the ICC administrative structure which seeks to place India, Australia and England in a position of power over the rest of the membership.  "It poses a serious challenge to Sri Lanka Cricket set-up," Sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said without elaborating. He said the SLC's executive committee would meet in Colombo on January 23 to take an official stance on the proposals which would then be conveyed to the ICC.

The radical reforms in a "position paper" drawn up by a working group of the ICC's Finance & Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee is due to be put to the ICC Executive Board at its quarterly meeting in Dubai on January 28-29. Critics argue that almost every recommendation of the "position paper" gives a larger share of control over world cricket to the Australian, English and Indian cricket boards - both in the boardroom and on the field.