The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ICC wants sponsors to compromise

Calcutta: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has initiated the process of requesting sponsors to “offer concessions” aimed specifically at the February-March World Cup.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, a request was made to Pepsi and LG Tuesday, while something similar will be placed at Hero Honda and Hutch’s door Wednesday.

It’s not clear how many of the other sponsors will also be approached.

Though no one is willing to be quoted on what admittedly is a sensitive issue, the “initial response” appears to be: Why should we oblige, especially when we are parting with millions of dollars'

Securing concessions from sponsors, one understands, is the top objective of ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed’s visit to New Delhi. Speed holds the same post in the ICC’s business arm — IDI Limited.

The ICC is in overdrive as it can’t afford a repeat of the extraordinary happenings in the lead-up to the recent Champions Trophy.

It’s significant, of course, that Speed has chosen to make the requests on Indian soil, where the key sponsors have a huge presence.

In any case, barring a Jonty Rhodes or an Adam Gilchrist, Indian cricketers alone will be most affected if the Player Terms isn’t authored afresh.

The Sourav Gangulys and Sachin Tendulkars, it may be recalled, featured in the Champions Trophy only after (a) the no-conflicting-endorsements period was reduced to 16 days after the final and (b) they were excluded from imaging, which could have been exploited (by the ICC’s sponsors) for six months after the final.

The New Delhi-chalo move, it is learnt, took shape after a “review meeting” in Paris last Friday.

Obviously, the review must have left many questions unanswered. Moreover, two sponsors have already sought compensation for concessions during the Champions Trophy.

[Meanwhile, speaking to the Media in New Delhi, Speed talked of finding a “creative solution.” Yet, he added: “We do not guarantee a solution will be found. However, our primary concern is to look for a solution that works for everyone.”

In Speed’s opinion, concessions during the Champions Trophy were “pragmatic”.]

Incidentally, Speed will also be interacting with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya. Both are on the ICC’s high-powered committee to ensure the Terms-issue doesn’t come even remotely close to derailing the World Cup.

Dalmiya, though, has no plans to involve the Sachins and Souravs in negotiations with the ICC. “There’s no question of doing that,” Dalmiya, who leaves for New Delhi Wednesday morning, insisted late Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, after all, Speed said the ICC would, “if asked by the BCCI,” (again) have a dialogue with the players.

Clearly, Dalmiya has learnt lessons from that jumbo controversy in the lead-up to the Champions Trophy.

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