Melbourne: Australian players are reportedly a step closer to being auctioned off to the eight private franchises in India after a breakthrough in their sponsorship dispute with Cricket Australia, which has till now blocked their participation in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), which is handling the negotiations, has reportedly struck two crucial compromises.
Progress has been made in relation to players' obligation to endorse products that may clash with Cricket Australia's commercial partners. Now images of Australian players, for example, may be used only in advertising campaigns in the Indian market, not in the global market. It has also been agreed that Cricket Australia will alow players to play for their states and attend national training camps while the billion-dollar Twenty20 tournament is on, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The major outstanding issue related to Fosters and Travelex, the two CA sponsors with global protection - which prevents Australian players endorsing rival brands.
Australian players will be now free to be auctioned off to the IPL's eight franchises in Mumbai on Feb 20.
A Cricket Australia spokesman said there were still some "difficult discussions to be had" before players could sign IPL contracts.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland is expected to resume talks with IPL chief Lalit Modi this week on issues concerning the cricket establishment in Australia.
Modi had earlier insisted that Cricket Australia would not get global protection for its sponsors and threatened to go ahead without the Australian stars if necessary.