London: The World Cup player contract dispute between India and the International Cricket Council (ICC) took a new twist on Tuesday when the sport's governing body confirmed that it had received the team's contracts for next month's tournament. But the ICC said a decision on whether it could agree to changes made personally by Indian players to their original contracts would have to wait until a meeting later this week.
Indian cricketers, on a tour of New Zealand, signed the contracts conditionally last week without accepting the clauses, which debar them from endorsing non-official sponsors before and after the tournament. Many Indian stars, including Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, enjoy lucrative personal sponsorships, which they may have to forego if the original World Cup contracts are enforced. Tuesday was the final day of a deadline ICC had imposed upon all 14 competing nations for receipt of the player contracts.
All the other 13 teams taking part in the February 8-March 23 tournament have signed the players' terms without qualification, the ICC has said. In a statement issued from its London-based Lord's headquarters on Tuesday, the ICC said, "ICC Development International Ltd (IDI) confirmed today (Tuesday) that it has received the signed but altered player terms contracts from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). "The ICC World Cup contracts committee will meet later this week to discuss whether the altered contracts will be accepted.
"A further statement will follow that meeting." BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said on Sunday that Indian players could not be banned from the World Cup just because they had raised objections on the clauses. These are designed to prevent firms who are not official tournament sponsors nevertheless using the event for commercial publicity. "We are extremely keen to participate. There is no clause to stop the players if they have signed conditionally," former ICC president Dalmiya insisted. The BCCI is strongly opposed to two of the 22 clauses in the players' contracts.
These relate to banning non-official endorsements for 30 days prior to the World Cup and five days after it, and allowing the players' images to be used by official sponsors for three months after the event. The 30-day pre-tournament moratorium is already a non-starter. Indian players are featuring prominently in non-official advertisements even though the tournament starts on February 8 in South Africa. Dalmiya admitted the matter was likely to be settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland. "As I've said, it's time to test the legality of the ICC clauses. Solicitors of the ICC and BCCI have started corresponding," said Dalmiya.