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September 3, 2002 | 0300 IST

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India's players seek clarification

India's cricketers are still refusing to sign the disputed ICC contract for next week's Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka unless their national board assures them that certain "unacceptable" terms will be deleted.

Top players, including Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Saurav Ganguly, wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday stating they could abide by a 30-day ambush marketing clause which, along with an "images clause", is at the centre of the controversy.

But the players want guarantees about some aspects of the contract before they sign it.

The Indian board, in reply, has asked them to specify what the "unacceptable" terms are but has said it is entirely up to the ICC to make any amendments in its contract.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said the board could take up the issue of "imaging" with the ICC, provided the players confirmed they would agree to the other terms and conditions in the contract.

"...Since the BCCI is not the author of the Participating Nations Agreement (PNA) and the player terms, it has no authority to include or delete any provisions," Dalmiya said in his letter to the players.

"We could, at best, put forward the proposals to the ICC and it is entirely up to the ICC to decide whether it would accept such proposals or not," he told the players who are preparing for the deciding fourth test against England starting at The Oval on Thursday.

The ICC contract stops players from endorsing products of rival companies to official sponsors 30 days either side of its events and contains a provision which allows official sponsors to use player images for up to six months.

If the Indian players and the BCCI do not reach an agreement over signing up for the September 12-29 event, the board would be forced to field a second string side.

There have been fears that a similar deadlock could affect next year's World Cup in South Africa.

With the other 11 participants agreeing to sign up, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has given the Indian board more time to try and convince its main players.

Australia and England players only agreed to sign after demanding assurances from the ICC that they would be consulted over future sponsorship deals.

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