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September 11, 2002 | 2054 IST

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'Subrata' to replace 'Sahara'

The main sponsor of India's cricket team, which owns the country's third largest airline, has changed its logo for the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka after a rival complained of "ambush marketing".

South African Airlines, one of the main sponsors of the tournament, objected to the use of the Sahara India Group logo on the team's attire.

The International Cricket Council has signed a $550 million deal with Global Cricket Corporation, valid until 2007 for all ICC events, barring teams from endorsing products of companies that are rivals of official tournament sponsors.

India's leading players initially refused to sign the contract but agreed at the 11th hour after the ICC watered down certain clauses.

The Indian team will now wear the logo "Subrata", named after Sahara group chairman Subrata Roy, for the September 12-29 event, which is second in prestige only to the World Cup.

The Sahara group has interests in businesses ranging from financial services to aviation and media.

Sahara India's council director Amar Singh told reporters on Wednesday that its airline is not a rival of South African Airlines.

"We were told by the ICC and the GCC that they objected to the name Sahara," Singh said.

"We told them we weren't a rival of South African Airlines, which is an international airline and does not even have a service in India."

Singh said the ICC had also rejected a proposal to display the Sahara logo, linked with specific businesses.

"The Subrata logo will be used whenever such a conflict arises," he said.

Sahara had signed an estimated 720 million-rupee ($15 million), three-year deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India in June last year.

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