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August 22, 2002 | 1103 IST

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'ICC will retain "ambush marketing" clause': Speed

The International Cricket Council will retain its "ambush marketing" provisions for ICC events for next month's Champions Trophy despite a looming boycott threat by leading players, a senior official said on Wednesday.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said the controversial contract drawn up for its events would also remain in place for next year's World Cup in South Africa.

"Any player who signs for the Champions Trophy is bound to play... under those terms," Speed told reporters in Bombay during his trip to India on commercial ICC business.

Top cricketers from many countries led by India have refused to sign the ICC contract barring them from endorsing products of rival companies 30 days either side of a tournament, to protect official sponsors.

Speed said despite opposition by the players, the ICC would not allow any company to cash in on its events secured by other sponsors paying huge sums of money.

"For each event there is a separate agreement. (But) they are substantially the same," he said, adding: "At this stage that (ambush marketing) clause will be included in the World Cup terms.

Speed said although the ICC could carry out a future review of its contract, there were unlikely to be major alterations.

"There may be some minor changes. As we go through each event we will learn from the experience of running that event. We'll have feedback from players.

"But it'll substantially be the same because, having entered into the agreement for $550 million (until 2007), having guaranteed the sponsors they will have exclusive rights, there is not much room to move."

The Indian board has said it would send an under-strength squad to Sri Lanka if its top players did not sign up, although national boards are obliged to field their best sides in ICC tournaments.

Speed said: "BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) has said it will not name players who don't agree to sign the contract. If that happens, it becomes a matter for the ICC executive committee."

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