The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sponsors strike back

Calcutta, Nov. 1: Two major commercial partners of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Pepsi and LG, are seeking “damages” for concessions to Indian players during the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.

Besides being part of the sponsors’ team there, they are among the commercial partners for the upcoming World Cup.

Sources said both sponsors have placed their claims before the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), which has the telecast/marketing rights for ICC events till the 2007 World Cup.

One understands the GCC will be tabling that demand at its November 15 meeting in Paris with the ICC.

World Sport Nimbus, which has an exclusive event management, sponsorship sales and TV licensing (in select territories) tie-up with the GCC, will also be represented.

The ICC was compelled to grant concessions or else the top Indian cricketers (who had strong reservations about the Player Terms) would have stayed away.

The concessions included no use of the players’ images (for a period of six months) and reducing the post-tournament restrictions on conflicting endorsements from 30 to 16 days.

The pre-tournament restrictions (30 days) never quite came to be enforced.

However, the concessions obviously haven’t amused LG and Pepsi and, with the World Cup just a shade over three months away, both have made their position clear.

Apparently, the GCC could insist that either the ICC ensures every line of the Terms will be implemented, or else, a compensation package be finalised. Otherwise, the GCC may pull out of its $550-million deal, signed in the summer of 2000.

Meanwhile, the ICC’s high-powered committee to review the Terms interacted for the first time — via a tele-conference — today.

While Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya — one of six on the committee — wasn’t available for comment, one learns the exchange was “preliminary” in nature.

This high-powered committee will be “studying” the personal endorsement details forwarded by all Test-playing nations.

Though it couldn’t be confirmed till late tonight, the BCCI is understood to have conveyed “two points” on behalf of its players: That the period of imaging be reduced to two months (from six) and that the bit on conflicting endorsements be limited to the duration of the tournament only.

As the Sourav Gangulys and Sachin Tendulkars mean the most to the ICC, India’s communication is bound to be “discussed” in Paris.

Clearly, the last word on the Terms is still some way off.

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