Sydney: A sponsorship wrangle between cricket's highest-profile players and the sports administrators intensified on Tuesday, with the Australian players' union warning the battle could jeopardise the upcoming Champions Trophy and next year's World Cup.
Leading player associations, including the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), have advised their members against signing player agreements for the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka from September 12. The dispute centres over the players' personal sponsorships potentially conflicting with those of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the tournament hosts. "It isn't about a money grab, it's about a fundamental principle," ACA chief executive Tim May said on Tuesday. "A player is not being allowed to endorse any product or service where that product or service conflicts with that of an ICC major sponsor." May said it was premature to talk about a boycott of the Champions Trophy, which involves cricket's 10 Test-playing nations, but he said the players would not sign the current agreements. "That would mean a player would have to breach an existing contract and that's not only unreasonable, it's unlawful," May said. "The players want to play in the tournament - make no mistake about that - but they are very concerned about that one clause." The World Cup, to be held in South Africa next February and March, faces the same problem because the ICC won't budge on its intention to fully protect its major sponsors. That creates a potential conflict of interest for some of cricket's biggest names, including the Australians and Indian Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar's sponsors include car company Fiat, while rival Toyota is among the World Cup sponsors. "There are some serious international cricketers who will be affected by this. It's a very difficult situation and it may only be settled as a temporary measure for the Champions Trophy," May said. Australian players are not believed to be affected by sponsorship conflicts for the Champions Trophy but it would be different for several players at the World Cup.
ICC says no change in stand on marketing protection