The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Players on pitch, bosses in court

Calcutta, Jan. 24: Taking the pragmatic route, IDI Limited — the business arm of the International Cricket Council (ICC) — has agreed to provisionally accept the Indians’ conditional signing of the Player Terms for the World Cup.

Accordingly, the Sourav Ganguly-led squad will leave for South Africa in the early hours of January 29, as scheduled. As for the warring Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the ICC, both are scheduled to head for the Lausanne-located Court of Arbitration for Sport after the February 8-March 25 tournament.

Much could, of course, happen between now and the end of the World Cup…

To talk of the present, Samsung and TVS Motors, for example, will be able to run campaigns with the Rahul Dravids and Sachin Tendulkars except during the tournament. Claims (if any) from LG and Hero Honda will be settled later.

The imaging, too, will be in accordance with the Indians’ wishes.

Essentially, the IDI directors -— who featured in a global tele-conference this afternoon — endorsed the World Cup contract committee’s recommendations, which were listed by The Telegraph in today’s edition.

[The composition of the ICC and IDI boards, by the way, is the same: All 10 Test-playing nations, three Associates plus the ICC president and vice- president.]

Incidentally, ICC vice-president Ehsan Mani is understood to have been instrumental in putting together this “practical package”.

The IDI, though, will not disburse India’s share of the World Cup spoils ($9 million) till arbitration is completed. Moreover, should it be determined that India is liable for damages and the BCCI refuses to pay, the ICC’s board will recommend India’s suspension.

That, however, is something for the distant future. In any case, it’s an absurd proposition.

While the BCCI didn’t have reservations about arbitration — though, initially, it did call for non-binding mediation — president Jagmohan Dalmiya was firm about not accepting the freezing of India’s share. Obviously, a majority within the IDI board felt strongly about it.

Dalmiya, however, isn’t reading too much. “The BCCI isn’t dependant on $9 million for survival… Moreover, if it comes to that, the IDI will have to release that amount with interest,” he remarked bitingly, after returning from New Delhi late tonight.

Though Dalmiya didn’t comment, it’s significant that Hero Honda (one of the three World Cup sponsors with Indian links) has already announced its willingness to offer concessions on the terms. Effectively, that translates into not asking for compensation.

With Pepsi also expected to climb down somewhat, only the bristling LG has to be ‘tackled’ the BCCI.

If the key sponsors don’t pitch for compensation (through Global Cricket Corporation), where’s the question of the BCCI having to pay up'

Meanwhile, one learns South Africa emerged India’s strongest backer during the tele-conference. Zimbabwe wasn’t far behind.

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