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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

ICC offers to end contract row

Jon Bramley in London | January 22, 2003 04:05 IST

The International Cricket Council has offered to end the row with India over World Cup contracts, a source said on Tuesday.

A specially convened World Cup contracts committee of the ICC agreed by teleconference at the weekend to clear the way for India's participation in the competition, which begins in South Africa on February 9.

It will accept India's refusal to sign up to its World Cup sponsorship rules in their entirety in return for a reimbursement from their board of any future claims for compensation arising from that.

This proposal will be endorsed by a full board meeting of the ICC on Friday, the source said.

"The ICC World Cup contracts board has decided to go along this route in the hope that it can finally end the dispute with India, clearing the way for the Indian team to take part in the World Cup," said the source.

"That is the prime objective and you can view this as a large olive branch from the ICC to the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India]."

India's top players, backed by their board, had refused to accept a suspension of their individual sponsorships just before and during the competition, arguing that the ICC had no right to sell their image rights.

Their stance won the support of other players around the world and they delayed the return of the ICC contracts, eventually sending in 'substantially altered' papers which were, in effect, a challenge to the governing body's authority.

Two Options

"The ICC had two options after that," said the source, who has been privy to the board's deliberations since the contracts were returned by the Indian players before a January 14 deadline.

"It either took the 'nuclear option' of handing them back to the BCCI and setting a new deadline for them to be returned without alteration," he said.

"Or it went down the road of a ceasefire, accepting the altered contracts but stipulating that any claim for compensation from official World Cup sponsors, which was the direct result of the BCCI's action, be met by their purse at a later date."

All ICC member countries are expected to earn around $9 million for competing at this year's World Cup, which is being co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

"The extent of this would be decided either by the Court of Arbitration in Sport [in Lausanne] or with the ICC acting as mediators," the source added.

"The BCCI have indicated in the past that they would accept this course of action."

The source said a BCCI refusal to agree to reimburse official sponsors, after arbitration, could result in its suspension from the ICC -- if this was agreed by a conference of all its members.

Biggest Hitters

The ICC board set up to resolve the sponsorship row with India included many of the biggest hitters in the governing body's hierarchy.

These included president Malcolm Gray, chief executive Malcolm Speed, Australian board chief Bob Merriman, Pakistan board's ICC vice-president Eshan Mani, Percy Sonn, president of the South African board and Justice Ahmed Ebrahim, a high-ranking judge in Zimbabwe.

The seeds of the dispute were sown two years ago when the ICC agreed a $550 million deal with the Global Cricket Corporation for sponsorship rights until 2007.

The GCC stipulated that World Cup and ICC Trophy sponsors should have a clear run during those events and that players should at these times cease activities for individual backers.

But Indian players, who earn far more from advertising than from playing, won support from the board and its president Jagmohan Dalmiya in opposing this measure towards the end of last year.

A compromise was reached for the 2002 ICC Trophy but the BCCI and ICC positions looked firmly entrenched running up to the World Cup, with neither side willing to back down in what was considered by observers as a fundamental struggle for power.

"The ICC hopes this will finally bring an end to all the disagreement," said the source.

The World Cup, involving 14 teams, is due to be officially launched on Feb 8 and runs until March 23.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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Number of User Comments: 14

Sub: indian players are overpaid

The Indian team as classy as it may be tauted sometimes, is overpaid and is concerned more about how much money they are to receive, ...

Posted by indian fan... kinda

Sub: I cant understand why ICC is making such nonsense things..Well done Indian Cricket players !!!

So you see here ICC was taming the game to its own rules which never looked upon indian as the mega market for earnings. Well ...

Posted by Vipul Unadkat

Sub: ICC Blunders & Thuggery On Contract Issue.

The imbroiglo on the Players Terms lay at the ICC Bigwigs w/o any sense of commitment to the paying public.Its time the top Heads of ...

Posted by Ramesh Rao

Sub: ICC offers to end contract row

I am delighted to note that the long pending rift between ICC and BCCI has been ended. Now Indian team can participate in the WC ...

Posted by daniel sathyananda

Sub: this had to be the ultimate outcome

For all the follies made by the ICC this had to be the ultimate outcome of this World Cup issue.

Posted by Pradeep Kumar


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