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Home > Cricket > The Cup > PTI > Report

BCCI open to dialogue with players

April 08, 2007 20:46 IST

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After its tough stance against poor performance, the Board of Control for Cricket in India on Sunday appeared to step back, saying its decision to limit cricketers' endorsements is not "sacrosanct" and it is open to reconsideration.

BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said president Sharad Pawar is open to suggestions on the decision to limit endorsements to three for each player and would consult cricketers for which he has been authorised by the Working Committee.

Highly-placed Board sources said the number of endorsements may be increased to five, a suggestion made by former India skipper Kapil Dev.

"It is not as if everything has been finalised. The decision allowing endorsements of only three products is not sacrosanct. There is no intention to harm the players. At the same time, sensing the mood of the country there has to be some restrictions on the commercials," Shukla said.

The Board's controversial decision to curtail players' product endorsements, estimated at about Rs 375 crore, and scrap the graded contract system, has stung players, their agents and corporate bodies. Threats of legal action have been voiced by the agents.

But even as Pawar and BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said the Board is open to "fair representation" by players on contracts and endorsements, another top BCCI official said there would be no rethink on the two issues.

Vice-president Shashank Manohar said the BCCI would neither bow to pressures from the players' agents nor succumb to legal threats.

"I do not think there is any scope for rethinking on endorsement policy already announced," Manohar said.

"The rules and conditions are set. A player may or may not accept, but it is not a problem of the BCCI."

Asked if the scrapped graded payment system would be brought back at a later stage, Manohar categorically said, "it will not be."

Meanwhile, India skipper Rahul Dravid issued a statement proposing a "healthy dialogue" with the Board to "crease out the irksome issues" of endorsements and contracts.

A day after the BCCI decided to limit the players' endorsements to three products and scrapped the graded contracts with the players, Dravid, in a statement, said a package that can take care of the collective interests and concerns of the BCCI and players could be worked out.

"The interests of the players and the BCCI are inclusive and not exclusive," Dravid said in the statement.

"The BCCI has always been very caring and considerate about the players' interests and I am sure that the BCCI would discuss the issue with the players at a suitable time.

"When this opportunity arises then we shall jointly examine the areas of concern and bother and crease out the irksome issues and work out a package that can take care of the collective interests and concerns of the BCCI and the players."

Dravid denied the cricketers are on collision course with the Board on the twin issues.

"It is not correct to project this whole issue as a conflict of commercial interests of the players and the BCCI. Let me clarify that there is no conflict between the players and the BCCI," the captain said.

He said the players had consulted Ravi Shastri, who has been appointed as Cricket Manager for the forthcoming tour of Bangladesh, and a few others on the way forward.

"I have spoken to Shastri and a number of the players and they all feel that with a healthy dialogue with the board which there always has been all issues can be sorted out."

Dravid requested "the media and fans to show restraint" while commenting on the matter.

"We have had a disappointing World Cup and it is important that we all work together as the various stake holders in the game to help improve and take our cricket forward," he said.

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