India Made Final Offer

World Cup Cricket News 20/12/02

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today provided the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) with its final offer regarding proposed changes to its contract to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 (ICC CWC 2003).

In making its offer, the ICC World Cup Contracts Committee (WCCC) emphasised that the BCCI remained obligated to both participate in the ICC CWC 2003 and to send its best team to the event.

ICC President, Malcolm Gray, said that months of negotiations with the BCCI had failed to resolve the issue and that the proposals put forward by the BCCI would undermine the integrity of the agreement the ICC has with its commercial partners.

“The discussions with the BCCI have been both exhaustive and, to date, fruitless,” said Mr Gray.

“The ICC has sent two delegations to India to discuss the issue, negotiated a number of significant concessions with its sponsors and sought at all times to be both flexible and pragmatic in its dealings with the BCCI.

“Despite these steps, the BCCI remains unable or unwilling to meet its contractual obligations and if anything it has gone backwards on what it is prepared to accept from the ICC.

“In light of the stance taken by the Indian Board, the ICC World Cup Contracts Committee had no option but to advise the BCCI there were no further concessions possible and that on the basis of what is on offer the BCCI has clear and compelling contractual agreements the ICC is now looking for it to fulfill.”

In recent months, with the excellent support of its sponsors, LG, Pepsi, Hero Honda and South African Airways the WCCC has negotiated a series of concession including:

1. increasing the restrictions on the use of player attributes by ICC sponsors to avoid any suggestion of a personal endorsement by a player;

2. a reduction in the ambush marketing protection period around the tournament for player sponsors. Under the original contract the period was 30 days before the event, the period of the event and 30 days after the tournament. The ICC has been able to negotiate the period after the event down to just five days except for the finalists which would be blocked for 20 days after the event or until the first ODI or Test match, which ever comes sooner;

3. the reduction of the period after the tournament in which sponsors would be able to use player attributes to finalise their promotions from six months to three months; and

4. a revenue sharing arrangement with players on income generated through electronic games

These concessions form the basis of the offer put to the BCCI today.

Last week, in a last effort to resolve this issue the ICC also offered to recognize the conflicting personal sponsors of Sachin Tendulkar and Verenda Sehwag which the BCCI had advised had been entered into prior to the BCCI signing its agreement with the ICC.

Part of the response to this offer was for the Indian players to move away from their previous undertakings to block their competing sponsors for the period of the event to only blocking their competing sponsors for the days on which India plays in televised matches.

In light of this rejection, the ICC has reverted to the initial series of concessions to ensure that there is consistency across all countries in what is being offered.

ICC Chief Executive, Malcolm Speed said that he was disappointed when this offer was rejected.

“Having offered this additional and significant concession to India, it was disappointing to find ourselves further apart than before,” said Mr Speed.

The ICC’s Executive Board established the WCCC to resolve the issue of Player Terms with all Boards.

The Committee comprises:

Malcolm Gray, ICC President

Ehsan Mani ICC, Vice President

Bob Merriman, Australian Cricket Board Chairman

Jagmohan Dalmiya, President BCCI

Ahmed Ebrahim, former Zimbabwean High Court Judge; and

Malcolm Speed, ICC Chief Executive.

The success of the Committee in negotiating the concessions now on offer sees all Boards, with the exception of the BCCI, close to reaching an agreement with their players.

Mr Speed, said that the BCCI had made a series of commitments to world cricket since 2000.

“In 2000 under the presidency of current BCCI President, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the ICC, on behalf of all Test playing countries, put in place a process that allowed the seven year Master Rights agreement with what is now Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) to be negotiated for a payment of $US550 million,” said Mr Speed.

“This agreement commits the ICC to providing GCC with exclusive commercial rights to all ICC events through until the ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies in 2007.

“On 25 April 2001 the BCCI reaffirmed its commitment to this agreement by signing the ICC Events Agreement along with all other Boards. This agreement commits the BCCI to sending its best teams to all ICC events.

“On 21 December 2001, the BCCI received the specific agreement (the Participating Nations Agreement or PNA) for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003.

“This agreement details the obligations on the BCCI and its players, including the commitment by the BCCI to send its best team and the obligations on the members of the teams (the Player Terms). It should be noted that this agreement specifies that commercial reasons are not sufficient grounds for failing to field your best team.

“This agreement was signed by the BCCI on 13 March 2002 and returned to the ICC without qualification. All other Boards have also signed this agreement.”

Mr Gray also said that the WCCC has also advised the BCCI that if it fails to meet its commitments it will face the potential of large compensation claims being made against it.

“It is impossible to quantify the level of claims before the event but it is clear that if the BCCI does not meet its obligations and there are damages claims made as a result, the BCCI faces the potential of these claims being made against it for not delivering on its contract,” said Mr Gray.

The BCCI also sought a 7 day extension to the 31 December deadline for naming its final 15 players for the ICC CWC 2003. This was rejected today.

Mr Speed confirmed that the deadlines in place on the BCCI are exactly the same as for all other Boards.

“As with all Boards, the BCCI must notify the ICC by 31 December of its final fifteen players for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003,” said Mr Speed.

“It then has up until 14 January 2002 to lodge the signed Player Terms for each of these players.”

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