The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ICC wants arbitration, not mediation

Calcutta: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has countered the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) push for mediation, on the contentious Player Terms, by going a step further: It has suggested both straightaway head to Switzerland for arbitration.

According to the Participating Nation Agreement (PNA), already signed by India and the 13 other countries participating in the forthcoming World Cup, disputes must be referred for “compulsory mediation” before moving for arbitration.

However, well-placed sources of The Telegraph in London revealed that the ICC’s solicitors (Simmons and Simmons) have formally proposed the Terms be placed before the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne.

One understands this suggestion is the focal point of the solicitors’ communication to the BCCI a “few days ago.” Obviously, some clause somewhere allows for such a step.

The BCCI’s response wasn’t known till late Monday, as president Jagmohan Dalmiya wasn’t available for comment.

“If the BCCI agrees to bypass mediation, it’s possible the dispute will be settled by January 14, the date by which the Terms (an annexure to the PNA) must be signed,” is how one source explained.

[Significantly, as of now, the ICC is not going to extend that deadline.]

In any case, nobody is quite sure about the modalities of mediation. Moreover, the mediator’s verdict simply won’t be binding.

Where arbitration is concerned, either the BCCI and the business arm of the ICC (IDI Ltd) mutually agree to between one and three arbiters, from the panel of about 150, or the independent Court’s president — currently H.E. Judge Keba Mbaye — will make the appointment.

“Our belief is that this process can be completed within three-four days of the submission of documents. If, for instance, the BCCI’s stand on the players’ pre-existing contracts is upheld, then the Sourav Gangulys and Sachin Tendulkars have nothing to worry. If it isn’t, the BCCI will have to sort matters out,” another source pointed out.

Apparently, the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), which holds marketing rights for all events till the 2007 World Cup, has categorically informed the ICC that the sponsors will offer more concessions (as sought by the BCCI) only if they are “compensated.”

In effect, that means they will themselves fork out less than what has been contracted. And, so, instead of $ 550 million (through till 2007), the ICC could get “around $ 480 million.”

That isn’t acceptable to the sport’s governing body.

Nor, for that matter, is it okay with any of the 13 other contestants — a reality that has emboldened the ICC in its stand-off with the BCCI.

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