The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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England bats on Aussie pitch
- Board inks agreement, players wait for deal review

Leeds, Aug. 24: While the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) have reached an understanding, no England cricketer will actually sign the Player Terms till the sport’s governing body has addressed the most contentious issues.

In any case, the solidarity bit is there as well.

For its part, however, the ECB today signed the Participating Nation Agreement — a move which should give the International Cricket Council (ICC) some relief.

Earlier, the Australian Cricket Board did the same after shaking hands with the Australian Cricketers’ Association.

No Australian, though, has signed the terms.

“The problem over pre-existing contracts and the use of player images must be resolved by the ICC. In fact, both figure in the template put forward by the Australians,” observed PCA managing director Richard Bevan, who is also a director of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (Fica).

Speaking to The Telegraph at Headingley this afternoon, Bevan added: “Indeed, cricketers’ bodies worldwide have their eyes on the ICC’s executive board meeting next week (in Dubai).... As the Australians have stated, the ICC must confirm its stand in writing.” Clearly, the Australians (and the England players) are looking for an immediate review of the terms. The ICC, of course, has been maintaining existing commercial arrangements will not be reviewed. For the ICC, next month’s Champions Trophy, in Colombo, is the starting point.

Significantly, Bevan indicated the PCA has raised the compensation issue with the ECB. Moreover, even Fica’s stand is that cricketers who could be in trouble with their own sponsors (owing to a conflict of interest) must not be allowed to suffer a monetary loss.

While declining to comment on whether any of the England players are in that conflict-situation, right now, Bevan acknowledged the Indian position was “complicated”. Incidentally, the Indians’ representative, Ravi Shastri, has been in contact with Bevan (and Tim May, Fica’s joint chief executive).

According to Bevan, the ICC has agreed to interact with any representative nominated either by Fica or the cricketers’ body of any country. “It’s going to be binding on the respective boards, too, to accept that nominee,” he maintained.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), it may be recalled, has refused to accept Shastri’s nomination. The former captain, though, is unfazed. “Don't ask me, ask the BCCI why they won’t deal with me," Shastri remarked, caustically.

Asked if the players intended to make a fresh representation, Shastri answered: “They’ve made their stand clear. Today, then, the ball is in the BCCI’s court. Let the BCCI and/or the ICC revert. Any move now must come from one or both of them...”

Meanwhile, while the Indian cricketers received the terms as recently as last month, after the NatWest final, the PCA was aware of what was coming as far back as April. “We began negotiations (with the ECB) then itself,” Bevan informed.

It won’t surprise if the Indians (belatedly) get a pucca players’ body going — sooner than most expect.

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