Sponsorship issue threatens to ~~ambush~~ WC plans

Published: Monday, August 19, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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  Sydney: Planning for next year's World Cup and next month's ICC Champions Trophy has been further undermined by the heightened stand-off between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the players over sponsorship. Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Tim May has accused the game's governing body of being "bully boys" after the ICC sent out guidelines restricting player endorsements. The ICC wants players to relinquish conflicting endorsements before, during and after tournaments to prevent "ambush marketing". But, the ICC has struggled to bring all nations on board with only Zimbabwe and New Zealand falling into line so far. India, where the vast bulk of the players' incomes comes from off field endorsements, appears ready to send an under-strength squad to the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka starting on September 12. Key players such as master batsman Sachin Tendulkar and Test captain Saurav Ganguly would lose substantial sums of money by agreeing to ICC's terms. May, who is also the joint chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA), called on the ICC to meet with FICA and players associations to resolve the matter. "The only way this thing can be resolved is if parties get together and try to resolve it with the ICC and FICA and its representatives," May said on Monday. "Or, alternatively, put it to independent arbitration to see if they accept that." He said the ACA had enjoyed promising discussions with the Australian Cricket Board but had become frustrated by the ICC's aversion to solving the matter. "This is an issue that has arisen due to the terms and conditions negotiated and agreed to by the ICC," May said. "The ICC has not only failed to consult players when giving away their rights but has also failed to communicate such restrictions and obligations." The Australian players are understood not to have any sponsorship conflicts at the Champions Trophy, but they have potential problems with the World Cup in South Africa next February and March.

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