ICC, BCCI crucial parley on players terms on Monday

Published: Sunday, December 8, 2002, 18:56 [IST]
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Kolkata: In a major move to resolve the vexed players' contract issue ahead of the coming World Cup in South Africa early next year, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) will hold direct talks on Monday, with both sides optimistic of making headway in the contentious matter.

The BCCI would be represented by its president Jagmohan Dalmiya, while the players' views would be put forth by senior cricketer Anil Kumble, who made himself unavailable for the Indian team for the two-test series in the first half of the current New Zealand tour. Justice Ahmed Ebrahim of Zimbabwe would stand in for ICC along with its general manager (Cricket) Dave Richardson. Both are expected to reach the metropolis early on Monday. "We are looking forward to the deliberations. I hope something concrete emerges," Dalmiya said. The ICC has also welcomed the meeting. "Hopefully, during the meeting the BCCI will be able to indicate that it is now more confident of meeting its commitments to the ICC and other cricketing nations," ICC chief executive officer Malcolm Speed said in London. The meeting would be a follow-up of the ground covered during the visit by Speed, who had flown to New Delhi on November 20 to hold talks with Dalmiya in this regard. The issue had earlier threatened to derail September's ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka and the world governing body had to concede some concessions to Indian players to ensure their participation. The run up to the tournament brought into focus that though all Boards had given contractual undertakings to the ICC in early 2002 for the World Cup through their Participating Nations Agreements (PNA), some Boards were likely to have difficulty in getting their cricketers to agree to the Players' Terms, which formed a part of the document. The players' terms form includes a controversial clause which bars cricketers from endorsing products potentially in conflict with the interest of official sponsors during and 30 days on either side of ICC tournaments. The BCCI has conveyed to the ICC the concerns of its top cricketers, who have been insisting that the clause should be restricted to the duration of the tournament only. Both Dalmiya and Justice Ebrahim are part of a six-member empowered committee set up by the ICC to thrash out a solution and ensure smooth conduct of the World Cup. The meeting is also being held in the wake of inter-actions between Dalmiya and top Indian cricketers Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar before the team's departure for New Zealand earlier this month. The representation of BCCI for the meeting with ICC at the administrative and players' levels was decided during the discussions, when Dalmiya assured the cricketers that the BCCI would stand firm on the players' terms review and protect their interests. The BCCI has already raised the players' concerns in its submission to the ICC in late October after the world governing body asked all the cricket Boards to give written submissions concerning any problem that their players might have with the contract. Besides, the terms also allowed the official sponsors to use images of players up to six months after ICC tournaments, triggering strong protests from the cricketers, who have contended that their approval be sought in advance. Speed hoped that during the talks the BCCI would be able to indicate the progress in resolving the issue of players' terms for the World Cup. "This meeting will allow us to hear directly from Dalmiya and Kumble, on how their discussions are proceeding," he said.

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