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September 14, 2002
1730 IST

Pool A:
Aus | Ban | NZ

Pool B:
Ind | Eng | Zim

Pool C:
Ken | SA | WI

Pool D:
Ned | Pak | SL

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Sahara withdraws sponsorship of Indian team

Sahara India has decided to pull out as the sponsor of the Indian cricket team after a marathon meeting of top company officials.

The group made the decision after the Indians took the field for their opening Champions Trophy match against Zimbabwe on Saturday afternoon without the company's logo.

"This unreasonable, irrational, and offensive condition, which is completely against national pride and Sahara's philosophy and values, has forced us to withdraw from the sponsorship of the Indian cricket team," Sahara India Pariwar 'chairman and managing worker' Subrata Roy Sahara said in a statement.

But the company decided to give the team members "a share of revenue for the Champions Trophy as an emotional support".

The statement said the amount would be paid directly to the cricketers and Sahara would take all steps necessary to "protect national pride and enforce its rights, and initiate appropriate legal proceedings against all concerned".

Sahara India spokesman Sanjay Lal said the company decided after a four-hour meeting that it was no longer worthwhile to continue with the sponsorship.

"We received a message from the ICC yesterday that the wings are not acceptable to them. These are not wings, but merely strokes of the national colours, and no way are we going to remove them.

"Never before were the wings made an issue and suddenly now they are objecting to it. It is a completely unfair demand."

The Board of Control for Cricket in India, meanwhile, said it is yet to receive an official communication from Sahara.

In June 2001, the Sahara India Pariwar had struck a multi-million-rupee sponsorship deal with the BCCI for a period of three years.

The company had issued a warning on Thursday that it would reconsider all existing conditions if the Indian team played without the revised logo, 'Subrata'.

The company had replaced the title 'Sahara' with 'Subrata' after the ICC raised objections, saying the name 'Sahara' had a conflict of interest with South African Airlines, one of the official sponsors of the Champions Trophy.

But after Sahara India changed the logo to 'Subrata', the ICC objected to the 'wings' and the way the letter 'a' was placed on the new logo. What followed was hectic parleys between Sahara India, the BCCI, and the ICC, but they did not yield any result and ultimately culminated in the Indian players taking the field without any logo on their jerseys.

Earlier report:
India to play Zimbabwe without sponsor's logo

The ICC Contract Row --- Complete Coverage


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