The standoff between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the International Cricket Council over the guarantee money for the 2003 World Cup will be the most important issue on the table when the ICC executive board begins its two-day meeting in Barbados tomorrow.
BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya is already in the eastern Caribbean island nation to try and convince the ICC to release India's guarantee money amounting to US $6.5 million.
The ICC decided to withhold the money to meet damage claims by sponsors of the World Cup for non-fulfilment of some of the clauses in the Players' Terms.
The BCCI, however, felt that the claims made by the IDI's financial partners -- the Global Cricket Corporation and World Sport Nimbus -- were baseless and withholding the guarantee money was "absolutely unreasonable and uncalled for", and set a November 1 deadline for ICC Development (International) Ltd, the ICC's business arm, to release the money, failing which it will move the Court of Arbitration in Sports at Lausanne in Switzerland.
The BCCI set the deadline after its annual general meeting discussed the issue at length in Kolkata last month. Dalmiya had said then that "the board cannot wait indefinitely for the release of guarantee money as all opportunities were given to the IDI to justify its claim [that the IDI was likely to face suits for damages on account of the Indian team not adhering to some of the Players' Terms]".
The BCCI is also expected to claim interest on the withheld amount as the IDI has failed to prove its damages claim. In fact, at the Kolkata AGM, the BCCI decided to appoint appropriate agencies to investigate the claims made by the GCC and WSN and also whether they had been able to market the World Cup to its full potential.
The BCCI claims the IDI's business partners undervalued the World Cup and the event had the potential to rake in up to US $700 million as against the guarantee money of US $550 million paid by the GCC-WSN combine to the IDI.
The Indian board also rejected the IDI's claim that Indian companies like BSNL and Maruti Udyog Limited had made claims for damages against it. The BCCI has already received communications from two of the main sponsors of the World Cup -- Hero Honda and Pepsi -- that they are are not going to make any claims against it.
The ICC executive board is also expected to take a decision on the proposal to expand the 2007 World Cup to sixteen teams.
The executive board comprises the presidents of the boards of the 10 Test-playing countries and three representatives from ICC associate members. The IDI board has the same set of members.