Derby, Aug. 30: The International Cricket Council (ICC) appears unlikely to climb down on the Player Terms. This was “very strongly” conveyed during the two-day cricket committee (management) meeting in Dubai, which ended today.
The focus now is on the executive board’s meeting, also in Dubai, tomorrow.
Sources said the ICC has let it be known that a climbdown — which will especially benefit Indian cricketers — “will almost surely” result in the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), which holds the marketing/telecast rights till 2007, refusing to honour its commitment.
The GCC could insist on the terms being renegotiated and, in that eventuality, pay much less than the $550 million agreed to during the summer of 2000. The amount, of course, covers ICC events till the 2007 World Cup.
“In the present market, where recession is holding centrestage, the ICC doesn’t even want to lose a cent. In any case, as things are, a fresh bid is never going to fetch $550 million. In fact, any loss of revenue will see cuts in the sum guaranteed to the participating nations. Nobody will like that,” insisted one of the sources.
Financial considerations, then, seem set to outweigh everything.
For their part, the Indian players have announced they will respect the terms only during the duration of next month’s Champions Trophy in Colombo (September 12-30). The ICC, though, has stipulated conflicting endorsements will not be allowed from a period of 30 days before the first match till 30 days after the final.
At this moment, the 30-days-before bit doesn’t make sense as the event is less than a fortnight away. But, then, the issue is of principles and precedents.
BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, who left for Dubai this evening, formally replied to the cricketers last night.
His response, addressed to captain Sourav Ganguly, was central to their making themselves available conditionally for the Champions Trophy. Dalmiya also forwarded their two-page communication to ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, expressing the hope that the players’ point of view will be “acceptable”.
Dalmiya ended his letter to the cricketers thus: “The board would welcome any discussion with you since you are so much a part of the board. You will, however, appreciate that in this case, the board has no authority to make changes in the agreement because the event belongs to the ICC. The board will certainly put forward your views at the ICC’s meeting and the response communicated to you.”