Kolkata: Even as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) were heading for a legal battle over the World Cup contract issue it was not yet clear how the mediation process would take place and whether the issue would be settled before the January 14 deadline.
"At the moment nothing is clear," the BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said when asked about the procedure to be followed for mediation as sought by the BCCI. He said that, 'the process has not been laid down', but hoped that everything would be clear in the next couple of days following the New Year holidays. Dalmiya announced on December 30 that the BCCI had decided to take the matter to 'non-binding mediation' as per the Playing Nations Agreement after he resigned from the World Cup Contract Committee when the tussle over the controversial contract clauses hit the dead-end.
As per the PNA any dispute should be first referred to a non-binding mediation in South Africa, the venue of the World Cup, and if the deadlock persisted then it had to be resolved by arbitration under the rules of the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne, Switzerland. Dalmiya said that nobody knew about the procedure as a situation of this kind had never arisen in world cricket earlier. Some amicable resolution of the dispute, however, has to be reached before January 14 by when all selected players have to sign the controversial Players Terms which has led to the current dispute.
The BCCI announced the final team for the World Cup abiding by the December 31 deadline, but all 15 selected players now have to sign the Players Terms in the PNA. The Indian Board objected to certain clauses in the Player Terms which restricted players on personal endorsements and also gave right to official sponsors to use each player image for their own endorsements for three months after the tournament.
Dalmiya has gone on record saying, "It has now become necessary to test the legality and the validity of unjust clauses that is tantamount to unfair restraint of trade." He had accused ICC Development (International) Limited, the commercial arm of the world governing body, of granting 'excessive' rights to its sponsors which forced players to violate pre-existing contracts.