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Dalmiya delivers three-in-one to ICC

Calcutta, Dec. 30: Caught in the Player Terms war, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today retaliated with three pressure-creating moves aimed at the intransigent International Cricket Council (ICC).

While the BCCI delivered on its promise to pick the “best 15” for the World Cup, president Jagmohan Dalmiya resigned from the World Cup Contracts’ Committee and, simultaneously, the BCCI opted for “compulsory non-binding mediation.”

Move No.1 was on the cards; the next two came earlier than expected.

The message to the Malcolms — Gray, the president, and chief executive Speed — is simple: With the very best selected, it’s time for you to deliver via concessions across the table.

Incidentally, the BCCI opted for mediation under clause 31.4 (C) of the Participating Nation Agreement (PNA), a document regularly cited by the ICC to remind India of its obligations.

“The BCCI has put IDI Ltd (the business arm of the ICC) on notice that it is immediately seeking redress through non-binding mediation to resolve the on-going contracts (terms) dispute,” Dalmiya announced, even as the selectors were endorsing the 15 sought by Sourav Ganguly and John Wright.

If the BCCI is not satisfied with the mediation — to be conducted in South Africa, as stated in the PNA — it can then move the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne. Of course, this holds true for the ICC (or, rather, IDI Ltd) as well.

Making the announcement, Dalmiya said: “Despite our sincere efforts to resolve issues in the greater interest of the game, IDI Ltd has unfortunately restrained the legal rights, liberties and entitlements of the BCCI and the Indian players… We feel it has become necessary to test the legality and validity of the unjust clauses that tantamount to unfair restraint of trade.”

[That this was a strong possibility, as indicated by an influential member of the BCCI, was reported by The Telegraph yesterday.]

Significantly, as the ICC hasn’t ever been a party to mediation, there’s no precedent to follow. Dalmiya conceded: “The procedure isn’t listed in the PNA and, so, we aren’t sure how IDI Ltd will respond.”

According to BCCI counsel Usha Nath Banerjee, lawyers generally stay away from the mediation process. Therefore, Dalmiya himself may represent the BCCI. If, on the other hand, a lawyer is IDI Ltd nominee, then a legal eagle will carry India’s brief.

What is confirmed is that a South African (qualified to be a conciliator) will be the mediator. Apparently, the BCCI has sought the names of possible appointees. It’s to be seen whether it will object to the eventual appointment, either by the ICC or even principal World Cup hosts South Africa. “I can’t commit myself… In any case, the mediation is non-binding and we can always proceed for arbitration,” Dalmiya said.

Owing to the obvious clash of interest, Dalmiya had offered to quit the contracts’ committee earlier this month. While the ICC didn’t respond formally, it wasn’t exactly unhappy he continued wearing two hats. Now, with the terms controversy seemingly getting out of hand, his resignation will add to the ICC’s discomfiture.

According to a late night agency report, Dalmiya’s resignation has been accepted.

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