Indian players put ball in individual sponsors~~ court
Published: Monday, September 2, 2002, 21:38 [IST]
Players await 'official response' from Indian Board
Dalmiya advices Indians to agree to sponsorship terms
New Delhi: India's leading cricketers will take part in next week's Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka only after getting the nod from their personal sponsors, sources said on Monday. Snubbed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), Saurav Ganguly's men were considering a written plea by India's cricket chief Jagmohan Dalmiya to sign up for the September 12 to 29 Limited Overs tournament.The players, preparing for the decisive fourth and final Test against England at the Oval from Thursday, were expected to give their decision "in the next 48 hours", the sources said. The ICC, at its executive board meeting in Dubai on Saturday, rejected the Indians demand to play in the tournament without signing the contracts. It also turned down a suggestion from the players that they will forego personal endorsements that conflict with the official ICC sponsors for the duration of the 18-day tournament. The ICC said the Indian players will have to keep their personal sponsors away for 30 days after the tournament ends, just as 11 of the 12 participating nations had agreed to do. "The players will take a decision only after consulting their sponsors," a team source said. "It's only fair they do that. After all, the sponsors have invested so much money in the players and they stand to lose if the players are not allowed to endorse their products." The players are against the ICC clause, which prevents them from advertising for companies that conflict with the tournament's official sponsors for 30 days after the event. In a letter to the Indian players, Dalmiya said the ICC had agreed to discuss the controversial clauses soon after the Champions Trophy if the players signed for the tournament. But some of the cricketers are not convinced by the ICC's promise to review the terms, the sources said. "If the ICC has agreed to review the contracts, why did it not do so at the executive board meeting over the weekend," a source quoted one of the players as saying. "What happens if the players take part in the Champions Trophy and the ICC refuses to make changes in the contract for the World Cup?" The ICC has also forbidden India from using its team sponsor, Sahara India, for the tournament, saying Sahara's domestic airline conflicted with South African airlines, one of the official sponsors. The ICC's commitment to consider the players demand was placed on record in a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by the governing body's chief executive Malcolm Speed. "I confirm that the board has agreed that in the event the Indian players, currently touring England, agree to sign and comply with the Player Terms for the forthcoming Champions Trophy, the ICC agrees to meet with the BCCI to have, in good faith, discussions concerning the issues of endorsements and pre-existing sponsorship contracts for future ICC events," Speed wrote. "It is proposed that these discussions take place after the Champions Trophy and before the end of October 2002." Dalmiya said he hoped the players will take a decision latest by Tuesday. If the top players decide to stay away, the BCCI will select a second-string team to take part in the Champions Trophy. "India will play in the Champions Trophy, that is for certain," BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said. "But I can't say whether the top cricketers will play, or we will have to field a second-string team."