Sunday, September 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

BCCI ultimatum to players
Team to be selected tomorrow
M.S. Unnikrishnan

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya presiding over the BCCI working committee
BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya presiding over the BCCI working committee board meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, September 7
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), at an emergency meeting here today, decided to give the Indian cricketers time till Monday afternoon (September 9) to sign the contract for their participation in the ICC Champions Trophy cricket tournament to be held in Colombo (Sri Lanka) from September 12.

BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya said after an emergency working committee meeting here this evening that “the senior selection committee of the BCCI will meet on Monday (September 9) to select the best available team from amongst those who have accepted the ‘player terms’”. Dalmiya said the selectors would meet in Kolkata on Monday at 2 pm, and the Indian players, currently in England, would have to confirm their availability before that.

This was the most important paragraph of the resolution passed by the working committee. The working committee meeting was held “to decide upon the courses of action in the matter of sponsorships and players’ endorsements in the ICC events, especially the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy 2002”.

The resolution said “continuing support to the Indian cricketers, the working committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India will propose to the cricketers to sign the 30-day bar clause for the ICC Champions Trophy 2002 and if they suffer any loss, the BCCI will compensate them entirely”.

The resolution further stated that “the BCCI will announce the best available team from the players who accept the offer and sign the ‘player terms’”.

Dalmiya said 24 out of the 25 players shortlisted by the BCCI when the seniors currently touring England refused to sign the contract, have already signed the “player terms”. Out of them, only Javagal Srinath has refused to append his signature.

“I am giving a blank cheque to the players as far as compensation to them is concerned for whatever losses they may suffer when they sign the 30-day bar clause”, Dalmiya explained.

The ICC, in its talks with the Indian players in England, agreed to delete the clauses which barred private sponsorships for 30 days after the Champions Trophy and also the usage of cricketers’ images six months after the Champions Trophy.

Dalmiya said he would be “talking to my players in England tonight, and elicit their views”. He said India cannot afford to skip the Champions Trophy as the Board would be penalised if India defaults. He also ruled out the possibility of negotiating through “middlemen” like Ravi Shastri.

Dalmiya said the board would compensate the players for whatever personal endorsement losses they suffer for signing the contract with the board. “The board stands them guarantee. If the players don’t sign, it’s their problem”, he warned. He said the ICC had informed the BCCI that 11 out of 12 countries have already signed the Champions Trophy contract, and only India had not done it so far. “If we don’t participate in the Champions Trophy, our neck would be on the line”, he cautioned.

He said the board was also prepared to fight the legal battle on behalf of the players if any sponsor of a player goes to court for agreeing to the BCCI terms and conditions. “Some personal sponsors may take the players to court, but the BCCI will tackle the legal battle”.

He said Indian sponsors of the players, like Pepsi, Hero Honda and LG had agreed to abide by the decision of the board and the South African Airlines were not bothered about the endorsements of the Indian players.

Dalmiya made it clear that “I am not going to pay any damages to the ICC. I had rather pay compensation to my players than the money going out of the country”.

He claimed that what the board had offered was “much better than what the players had signed with the ICC”.

But will the players sign on the dotted line? That’s the million dollar question, though Dalmiya, taking a hardline, asserted that India would definitely field their “best team in the Champions Trophy”.

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