ICC threatens to penalise BCCI on contract row

Published: Saturday, December 28, 2002, 2:23 [IST]
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London: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday warned that the explosive row with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over contracts for next year's World Cup could damage the long-term health of the sport.

On the day that Indian government threw its weight behind its country's cricket establishment in its showdown, the chief executive of the ICC warned again that the BCCI must recognise the implications of their stand. "The current agreement between world cricket and the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) is in the best interests of the game," said Malcolm Speed. "It will provide $ 550-million for the sport over the life of the agreement, an injection that will allow cricket to thrive over the coming years.

The deal helps ensures that the 85 countries that are part of the ICC have the financial resources to develop and grow the games across the globe. "Critical to this is the need for all countries that have entered into legally binding agreements to deliver what they have promised. This includes the BCCI." Unthinkable as it may sound, the prospect of India boycotting the showpiece event in southern Africa from February 8-March 23 next year cannot be ruled out if the ICC refuses to alter the ambush marketing clauses any further.

"No one wants to stay away from the World Cup, but we have already said the current set of contracts are not acceptable to us or the players," an official of the BCCI said in New Delhi. "It's for the ICC and the tournament's sponsors to decide. The ball is in their court." In his statement, Speed said that recent suggestions by some commentators that the BCCI is not, or would not, be contractually bound to deliver on their obligations were inaccurate.

"The BCCI has willingly committed itself to delivering its best team to the World Cup and to ensuring that this team will agree to the conditions accepted by the BCCI," said Speed. "Following discussions with the BCCI on this issue I carefully outlined the legitimate and transparent process by which the BCCI accepted and committed to its contractual obligations in a letter to the BCCI earlier this month."

Speed added that with the two groups at loggerheads over the issue, the ICC would even consider seeking compensation against the Indian authorities. "The reality is that any person or organisation that fails to live up to its commitments risk claims for compensation being made against it and the BCCI is no different," said Speed.

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