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September 6, 2002 | 2330 IST

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ICC says sponsorship
issue resolved

The International Cricket Council announced it has resolved the dispute with the Indian team.

In a statement on Friday night, it said that pending the agreement of one ICC sponsor, it is now up to the BCCI to decide if it wants its best players to represent India at the ICC Champions Trophy next week.

ICC president, Malcolm Gray, said that the meeting with the Indian players on Wednesday evening had identified a potential way forward and that all of the other countries participating in the tournament had agreed to a compromise.

"The situation today is that following discussions between the ICC and the Indian players there is now an agreement that is acceptable to both the ICC and the players," Gray said.

"There have been compromises on both sides.

"Pepsi, LG Electronics, Hero Honda and South African Airways have been very understanding and want to see the best Indian players represent their country. We are now awaiting the final agreement of one sponsor to the proposed solution that will clear the way for the players to take their place in the squad - if the BCCI picks them."

ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed confirmed that the compromise relates to the two key player concerns over the ability of sponsors to use the players’ images for six months after the event, as well as a proposed restriction of 30 days after the tournament on players’ personal sponsors that conflict with tournament sponsors using the players images.

"In relation to the six months issue, the reality is that given the sponsor programs being put in place, no sponsor is intending to use the players’ images in this way and this clause will not become an issue for the ICC Champions Trophy," said Speed.

"The 30-day exclusion period after the tournament has been reduced to 16 days, which is the day before the start of the India’s second Test against the West Indies. It is longer than the players wanted but shorter than the ICC and its sponsors were seeking. It is a pragmatic solution to a difficult issue."

Speed said the ICC had now received a directive from the BCCI that it is no longer authorized to negotiate with the players In these circumstances the responsibility for accepting this agreement now reverts back to the BCCI.

"Having been instructed by the BCCI to no longer deal with its players, it is now up to the BCCI," said Speed.

"Clearly, the option of India playing its best team is the best option for BCCI and ICC.

"All of the ICC Full Member countries have agreed that this is the best option -- they want India to field its best team.

"The only country that has not agreed to this is India.

"All countries are urging the BCCI to focus on meeting the commitments that BCCI has agreed to in signing the GCC contract and the Participating Nations Agreement."

Speed also reconfirmed the ICC’s position in relation to compensation.

"There is no claim from the ICC or any other body for compensation against any Board,” said Speed.

"Should a claim be made in the future, it will be determined at that time if there is any merit in the claim and who, if anyone, would be responsible for the payment of any damages.

"The BCCI asked for all other countries to give them a categorical undertaking that no future compensation claim could be made against the BCCI by any person or organisation in relation to the ICC Champions Trophy. All other counties declined to give the BCCI this undertaking.

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