Contracts row returns to haunt Indian players again

Published: Saturday, February 15, 2003, 4:02 [IST]
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Johannesburg: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday cracked the whip against Indian players whose personal sponsors continued to advertise in violation of World Cup rules. The Indians had signed ICC contracts which prohibited them from advertising for non- official sponsors for the duration of the World Cup from February 8 to March 23.

But the ICC said electronics giants Samsung, who have six Indian players including vice-captain Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag on their payrolls, have continued to issue advertisements in newspapers. "The ICC on Friday expressed its deep concern that it has been forced to disturb the World Cup preparations of the Indian team because of the ambush marketing activities carried out by electronics company Samsung," the sport's world governing body said in a statement.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said, "There is clearly documented evidence that Samsung is deliberately and blatantly flouting the contractual agreements that exist with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). "This is a pre-meditated campaign designed to infringe and devalue the rights secured by the ICC's commercial partners. It cannot and will not be tolerated," Speed said.

The ICC said that advertising campaigns featuring images of Indian players sponsored by Samsung are appearing in India and "infringements have also been identified in South Africa." The ICC lawyers delivered letters to the Indian management and players on Thursday in an attempt to secure their support in curtailing Samsungs activities, the statement said. "If no resolution is reached immediately, the matter is likely to be referred to the ICC Technical Committee for further action." Indian team official Amrit Mathur confirmed the letters from the ICC had been received by the team.

"The concerned players have been told of this and they have advised Samsung to stop the advertisements," he said. The Indian players, who enjoy lucrative personal endorsements, had earlier refused to sign the contracts that prohibited ambush marketing for 30 days before, during and after the World Cup. The ICC backed down and did away with the period before and after the tournament, but insisted ambush marketing will not be allowed during the tournament. The ICC action against Samsung came a day after BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya slammed the governing body for favouring England in the row over playing in Zimbabwe.

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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