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August 21, 2002 | 2100 IST

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SA players too reject
ICC contracts

South Africa's cricket officials are to meet with players' representatives on Thursday to discuss the burgeoning international dispute over sponsorship contracts.

The dispute arose after ICC told leading international players to agree to contracts which prohibit them from endorsing companies that are rivals to its commercial sponsors.

The London-based body has urged its member countries to ensure the contracts are signed, but the South African players - along with those from several other nations - are yet to comply.

"In the current form, the contract terms are not acceptable, primarily because they require the players to breach existing contractual obligations with their own sponsors," Tony Irish, the chief executive of the South African Cricketers' Association, said on Wednesday.

"The players' rights have been sold and restricted by the ICC," he added.

The association represents all 21 players that have contracts with the United Cricket Board of South Africa.

Gerald Majola, the South African board's managing director, expressed personal sympathy for the players' position and hopes the dispute could be resolved amicably, said UCBSA spokeswoman Bronwyn Wilkinson.

She was unaware whether the board had taken an official stance on the ICC contracts, saying its position would be clarified after Thursday's meeting.

Irish said he would present Majola with a resolution to the impasse, but could not give details until after their meeting.

"We believe there is a possible workable solution - we just hope the ICC and UCB agree to it," he said.

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