Saturday, January 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Contract signed, but conditionally

Auckland, January 10
In a significant step towards breaking the impasse over the vexed contract issue, all the 15 members of the Indian World Cup squad today signed the ICC Players’ Terms contract but made it clear that certain contentious clauses in it were not acceptable to them.

Although the cricketers made themselves available for the mega event by honouring the January 14 deadline set by the ICC, they have objected to certain “restrictions” in the contract, sources in the touring Indian team said.

The signed forms will now be sent to the Indian cricket board which will forward it to the International Cricket Council.

The Indian players, the worst hit by the ICC’s controversial sponsorship policy, have signed the forms only after declaring their non-acceptance of a few contentious clauses in the contract, they said.

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly said the players’ stand had already been explained in detail to the ICC.

“We are in contact with the BCCI. We have told the ICC what our problems are. We have given our terms and conditions. There are certain areas that need to be looked into,” he said.

It is learnt the players are willing to persuade their sponsors not to air conflicting advertisements for the duration of the World Cup (February 8-March 23) but not ready to do so for a month before and after the event. They have also voiced their objection to the images clause, the sources said.

“We all feel at the end of the day, it’s got to be an adjustment from both the sides. It can never be one-sided, whether it is the players or the ICC,” Ganguly said.

“We have made our statement clear that this is what we can do and this is what we can’t. The rest is upto them,” he said.

The BCCI has objected to certain restrictions in the Players’ Terms since it clashed with pre-existing contracts of Indian cricketers and demanded appropriate concessions from the ICC.

Ganguly expressed his dissatisfaction at the way this issue has dragged on.

“We decided to co-operate fully when we were touring England last summer, thinking there will be time after this for them to sort it out.”

“But the situation is the same and there are certain restrictions on us. We have our existing contracts and it is illegal to break them and we’ve let them know it.”

“It now depends on them to come to a solution and it’s got to be a bit of adjustment from both sides — which we are ready to do and I hope the ICC is ready as well.”

A similar problem had cropped up during the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka last September after which the ICC constituted a six-member contract committee with the BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya as one of the members to settle the issue before the World Cup.

The ICC agreed to give some concessions, but the Indian cricket board was not satisfied and ultimately Dalmiya resigned from the committee and decided to go for a non- binding mediation as provided for in the relevant disputes resolution clauses of the Participating Nations Agreement.

Nevertheless Ganguly was confident some solution would be found for the top cricketers to take part in the World Cup.

“At the end of the day, something is going to happen because the game will go on — it has always gone ahead. Something will happen for us to participate in the World Cup.”

“I’ve never once thought about that danger (of not participating) and obviously some adjustments have to be made.”

Ganguly also explained the reason why the Indians had put a white sticker over logo on their shirt sleeves during the fifth one-day international at Wellington on Wednesday. PTI

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