KARACHI: Pakistan cricket chiefs on Wednesday dismissed reports they had sought a share of revenues from their planned tour of India later this year – the arch-rivals' first series in five years.
The priority was to revive cricket with India and money had not been a consideration, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Nadeem Sarwar told AFP, revealing talks had been going on behind the scenes since last year.
India announced on Monday they will host Pakistan for a short series of three one-day internationals and two Twenty20s in December-January, ending a five-year deadlock sparked by the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
“Pakistan's first priority was to revive ties with India and PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf was focused on that. We wanted to take a start and for that we were negotiating since October last year,” said Sarwar.
Tour revenues normally go to the host nation, but reports in Indian media suggested Pakistan wanted the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to split the money.
Television rights alone for an India-Pakistan series are estimated to be worth $25 million but the figure could be much higher given India's vast TV audiences. Cricket is wildly popular in both countries.
“Such reports about the proposal of revenue-sharing for India-Pakistan series have no relevance and do not express the views of the PCB. The revenue-sharing thing never came under discussion,” Sarwar said.
In talks about reviving the matches last year, then-PCB chairman Ijaz Butt demanded a 50-50 share of revenue, which India refused.
The BCCI said Tuesday they were hopeful of getting the necessary clearance for the series from New Delhi.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to voice his happiness at the resumption of matches and said the games would be a “formidable confidence-building measure”.
Although India and Pakistan have met in events such as the World Cup and Asia Cup, their last series was in 2007, when the Pakistani team visited India.
Cricketing ties between the arch rivals were suspended after the Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistan-based militant group.