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August 20, 2002 | 1438 IST

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Muthiah's statement is
intriguing: Tim May

Faisal Shariff

To Tim May, joint CEO of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations and head of the Australian Cricketers Association, a statement by former Board of Control for Cricket in India president Dr A C Muthiah came as a complete surprise.

Muthiah had set the cat among the International Cricket Council pigeons when he said that a crucial clause, prohibiting players from sponsoring/endorsing products other than those of the ICC's official sponsors, was not part of the original contract signed by the chiefs of the various boards -- including Muthiah -- in 2000.

"Perhaps, it (the clause) was included later; I am not aware of that," Muthiah has said.

May, who is fronting the players in the showdown with the ICC, quotes the Australian Cricket Board as claiming that it had not seen the contract in its entirety.

"In the light of the ACB statement, Muthiah's statement is intriguing; I hope he is not confused about which contract he is talking about," May told

"It will be interesting to hear the official Australian Cricket Board reaction to the clause."

May said the controversy, meanwhile, continues in stalemate and that the fault lay in the ICC's failure to find a middle ground, and to ensure that players did not suffer losses.

May has advised the ICC to come up with a competent marketing plan that avoids ambush programs by rival companies.

"The damage has already been done two years ago. Now, with an effective marketing plan, the ICC can satisfy the sponsors.

"I hope the ACB does not plan to send a second string team for the ICC Champion's Trophy," the players' association chief said, while speculating on the possibility of Aussie players refusing to sign on the dotted line.

"It will be a fundamental breach of the contract which calls for the boards to present their best teams in the competition."

So, when does the deadlock break?

"September 12 - the day the Champions Trophy begins."

Complete Coverage of the ICC Contract Row

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