Derby, Aug. 29: Thursday was the day for formal moves.
While the players, currently in England, conveyed their thoughts to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya via a two-page letter, the BCCI itself formally asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a two-day extension to tomorrow’s deadline for resolving the Player Terms issue.
As reported in these columns today, the ICC had (informally) agreed to extend the deadline yesterday itself. That, according to a well-placed source of The Telegraph, was more than stated in a communication to the BCCI.
A pucca extension is a formality as, besides India, the issue hasn’t also been settled in the West Indies, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Not till tonight, at least. The terms ball is being lobbed into the ICC’s court — specifically, the Executive Board, which meets in Dubai on Saturday.
To talk of the Indian cricketers, they have put on record what has been known for the past 48 hours. Interestingly, their letter to Dalmiya bears captain Sourav Ganguly’s signature only. He has, of course, signed on behalf of the team.
“All I can say now is that I will strongly plead our players’ case...Just an important, everybody must understand it’s the Executive Board alone which can alter the terms,” pointed out Dalmiya, when contacted in Calcutta late this evening.
Dalmiya, who leaves for Dubai tomorrow night, may carry the cricketers’ communication — to be placed before the Executive Board —with him.
Faxed early today, it reads :
“With reference to the various discussions that we have been having in the past, let us reiterate that we are committed to play for our country. However, we find ourselves in a situation where the Player Terms that we are asked to sign at this late stage commercially affects us and has resulted in a situation brought about without consultation and with which we have serious issues.
“From the flow of events, it appears that the IDI, GCC and Newscorp have signed the GCC Agreement relating to the Media and sponsorship rights on July 20, 2000.” (IDI is the business arm of the ICC, the marketing/telecast rights are held by GCC). “Thereafter, it appears from our discussions with you that the BCCI has signed a Cricket Events Agreement on May 28, 2001 (a copy of which we have not yet seen).
“Pursuant to that document, you have recently signed a Participating Nation Agreement (PNA), on June 28, 2002, and forwarded the same to the ICC whilst objecting to its contents and recognising that the clauses impinge on the commercial rights of the players.
“Despite that, the PNA was signed and now we, as players, are asked to sign — without any further discussion or review — on the Player Terms which is the PNA’s schedule 3 and which was forwarded to us only recently.
“Under the GCC Agreement, Newscorp has paid significant amounts to the IDI, based on its ability to commercially exploit the events in various forums and without our knowledge. The IDI (and now the BCCI) has committed that we, the players, will suffer several restrictions without any consultation and without our prior agreement.
“What you have proposed is that we will now continue to suffer these restrictions, but limited only to the Champions Trophy 2002. You have also offered to take up the matter for future ICC events on behalf of the players. The width and breadth of these restrictions, as contained in the PNA and Player Terms, are, we believe, unfair and are made for the commercial gain of the IDI/BCCI without giving our interest sufficient weightage.
“However, as a matter of showing our willingness for fielding the best Indian team in the Champions Trophy 2002, we would be willing, only with regard to the Champions Trophy 2002, to request our sponsors (competitive to the sponsors of the Champions Trophy 2002) not to air any advertisements or publish any campaigns in newsprint for the period that the Champions Trophy 2002 is being played, i.e. September 12 to September 30.
“The other restrictions imposed by the Player Terms and which are sought to be imposed by the PNA, which you have signed recently, should be sorted out for future events by mutual discussion and should not affect us until then. We do hope that we can arrive at an appropriate solution along these lines. We are ready to discuss the same with you.”