WC 2003 - BCCI to reject ICC's final offer on contract row

Published: Tuesday, December 24, 2002, 21:56 [IST]
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Kolkata: The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are headed for another showdown over the contentious players' contract issue as the special general body of the BCCI meets on Wednesday amidst indications that it would reject the 'final offer' by the world body.An attempt to break the deadlock via a tele-conference between top ICC bosses and BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya on Monday evening also failed as both sides stuck to their respective stands, according to sources.When approached for comment on the tele-conference Dalmiya refused comment, but reliable sources confirmed that the stalemate continued. This puts the focus on Wednesday's crucial meeting when the last offer by ICC will be put before the general body of the BCCI, the highest decision-making body, for consideration and a final decision. ICC has already made its final offer to BCCI last week after making some concessions in the Players' Terms for the World Cup beginning in South Africa on February 9. It has also threatened the Indian Board with damage claims if it failed to send its best team to the World Cup.Dalmiya, however, has clearly indicated after a meeting of the BCCI officer-bearers last Friday that the ICC offer in its current form would be unacceptable to the Board. The issue, which had led to a similar deadlock before the ICC Champions Trophy in September, mainly revolves around the restrictions on personal endorsements by players and use of their images by the official sponsors of the World Cup. As per the original terms players were not allowed to do personal endorsements of any product which comes in conflict with those of official sponsors during the tournament and 30 days on either side.The official sponsors were also given the right to use images of players, including of those with pre-existing conflicting contracts, for six months after the tournament. Dalmiya, however, had said restriction on endorsements could not be accepted before and after the tournament because, "It was with great difficulty that the restrictive clauses during the event could be agreed upon."The Indian board has also insisted that the images of players with pre-existing conflicting contracts should not be used while for others it should be used only for two months after the meet.In the current circumstances the Indian board would have to pull out of the World Cup if it refused to accept the terms offered by the ICC as it could not even send a second string side because the world body has clearly said that India has to send its best team as per the Playing Nations' Agreement signed by all the Boards.The problem emanates from a number of top stars of the Indian team having pre-existing personal endorsement contracts with companies whose products are in conflict with the official sponsors of the World Cup.As per the agreement BCCI has to announce its final team of 15 members by December 31 and all the selected players have to sign the Players' Terms by January 14. PTI

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