Bangalore: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will insist that the country's international players sign a controversial sponsorship agreement with the International Cricket Council (ICC), a senior board official said on Tuesday.
"The board will insist the players sign the contract," Purshottam Rungta said ahead of a crucial BCCI meeting to resolve the sponsorship row. He also warned the cricketers the board would send a second-string team for next month's Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka if they do not sign the contract. "The ICC stands to gain sponsorship revenues of $ 720 million until 2007 and India will be a major beneficiary with $ 120 million," the former BCCI chief said. "The choice is between ICC spending money on cricket and individual players amassing wealth through sponsorships. If you ask me I think cricket will benefit in the longer run." The working committee, the decision-making body of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has convened a session here a day after Indian players refused to sign the ICC contract. A BCCI official said the working committee meeting was being held a day earlier than planned following the rigid stand adopted by the Indian cricketers. "The meeting was earlier slated for Wednesday," said Rungta. "After the announcement (by the Indian players) an early session was convened (Tuesday). It will focus just on the ICC contract." ICC chief executive Malcom Speed landed in Bombay early Tuesday and, according to sources there, was to head straight for Bangalore to attend the meeting. He was also to hold talks with sponsors of Indian cricketers in Bombay. Cricketers from Australia, South Africa and West Indies also have yet to sign the ICC contract though their respective boards have inked it.
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