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September 17, 2002 | 2000 IST

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ICC interfering in BCCI's
affairs: Dalmiya

Barely two days ahead of the Annual General Meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, board president Jagmohan Dalmiya accused the International Cricket Council of interfering in the internal affairs of the BCCI and pressurising its secretary to sign the controversial Champions Trophy agreement.

In a letter faxed to ICC president Malcolm Gray, Dalmiya, referring to recent media reports, said, "From the tone of these reports it appears that the ICC president and the ICC chief executive [Malcolm Speed] are interfering with the internal affairs of the BCCI."

He also claimed that BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah was pressurised to sign the Participating Nation's Agreement (PNA) for the Champions Trophy during several telephone discussions with ICC oficials.

Emphasising that statements attributed to the ICC bosses are not only "factually incorrect but also have serious ramifications", Dalmiya urged world cricket's governing body to issue a denial on the media reports.

Dalmiya's strong reaction came after media reports quoted Gray as saying that the controversial Players' Terms, which had led to the recent standoff between the BCCI and top players, had been signed by the present board chief and not by his predecessor A C Muthiah.

Incidentally, the sponsorship controversy centering around the Players' Terms is expected to figure prominently in the two-day AGM, beginning on Thursday.

Contending that the Participating Nations' Agreement could not have been signed in December last year when he was in office, Dalmiya referred to the minutes of the ICC Cricket Committee (Management) meeting on February 10, 2002, at Christchurch to buttress his point.

'It was also noted that IDI was in the process of producing the Host Agreement and would hold detailed operational discussions in Sri Lanka in early March 2002. It was noted that the Participating Nations Agreement for the event would be sent to the teams by the end of March and that a signed copy is required to be returned within 45 days,' the letter said, quoting the minutes.

"If this was the discussion in the ICC Cricket Committee (Management) meeting in February, there could be no question of signing the PNA for the Champions Trophy in December, 2001. In fact, the PNA for the tournament was received by the BCCI secretary some time in April 2002," Dalmiya said in the missive.

He said that on receiving the PNA, the BCCI had noted certain objectional clauses and took legal opinion on them.

Claiming that the BCCI secretary was pressurised to sign the PNA, Dalmiya said: "When he [Shah] said that certain clauses are not acceptable, he was told that he was bound to sign the PNA because the BCCI had already signed the Cricket Events Agreement in May last year."

The letter said that under the circumstances, the BCCI secretary signed the PNA on June 22 this year, but "under very strong protest".

Dalmiya said Shah had then written to the ICC that it would not be possible for the Indian board to agree to certain provisions of the PNA, including the controversial conflicting advertisement clause 13 barring players from endorsing products potentially in conflict with those of official sponsors during and 30 days on either side of ICC tournaments.

"We do not interfere with such rights of the players because it directly affects their Fundamental Rights under the Constitution of India," Dalmiya wrote in the letter, quoting Shah's missive to the ICC on June 22.

Dalmiya also claimed that the BCCI is perhaps the only board to have signed the PNA for the Champions Trophy 'conditionally and under protest'.

The BCCI chief requested Gray to confirm the sequence of events as mentioned in the letter, "contrary to what is published in a section of the media quoting you as ICC president or the Chief Executive [Speed]".

Stressing that such "wrong reportage" is creating a lot of confusion, Dalmiya said: "This is further compounded by quotes from you and the ICC Chief Executive."

"It would perhaps be beneficial for all concerned if the ICC issues a media release contradicting the reports," he added.

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