The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India’s isolation on Terms persists
- Dalmiya closes Denness issue on ‘humanitarian grounds’
Mike Denness
Jagmohan Dalmiya

Calcutta, June 21: India’s isolation on the Player Terms issue, within the International Cricket Council (ICC), persists.

Indeed, if some (rather optimistically) expected a dramatic change with Pakistan’s Ehsan Mani taking over the presidency, yesterday’s developments in Monte Carlo will come as a disappointment.

Specifically, the ICC’s business arm — Monaco-registered IDI Ltd — decided to continue withholding India’s full guarantee money related to World Cup 2003, amounting to around $ 9 million.

With breaks, the board meeting lasted almost nine hours.

[The IDI Ltd is registered in Monaco for tax benefits and its board is constituted in exactly the same way as the ICC’s Executive Board.]

The only concession, if one could call it so, is that the IDI Ltd (with Mani in the chair) agreed on preparing its “response” to claims from the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) “as soon as practicable.”

India’s money has been held back on account of the GCC’s overall claim, which is in the region of $ 50 million. The GCC, it’s to be noted, has marketing rights for all ICC events till the 2007 World Cup.

Significantly, while the IDI Ltd refused to heed pleas from India, it decided on releasing part of the guarantee money withheld from England and New Zealand. Sri Lanka, of course, had much to smile: The entire $ 0.5 million, held back for not meeting the December 31 (2002) cut-off on naming the World Cup squad, has been released.

Instalment No.1 for all three countries, by the way, was released immediately after the World Cup.

In Monte Carlo, England emerged the bigger beneficiary, getting back $ 1.5 million of the $ 3.5 million. New Zealand, on the other hand, got $ 0.5 million of the $ 2.5 million withheld. England stand to be penalised for not playing in Harare; New Zealand for skipping Nairobi.

Given that both England and New Zealand have an identical $ 2 million still held back, that probably will be the eventual penalty for not turning up in Harare/Nairobi.

“Those claims can be quantified… Yet, how is the one against India going to be done' In any case, I made two points: That our money can’t be withheld indefinitely and, secondly, we reserve the right to file a counter claim that the GCC’s marketing wasn’t proper,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya told The Telegraph.

Speaking from the Le Meredian Beach Plaza (in Monte Carlo), early this morning, Dalmiya added: “The World Cup finished three months ago but, till now, a specific claim hasn’t been lodged. We will have a response once that’s done and, as I’ve said, we reserve the right to challenge the GCC’s marketing strategy…”

Meanwhile, at the same meeting, India agreed to treat the Mike Denness (Match Referee) affair as “closed.”

According to Dalmiya, Mani made a request, on “humanitarian grounds,” and he had to oblige.

“Denness is keeping very poor health after last year’s heart surgery and everyone felt he may not survive regular appearances before a four-member Commission (constituted 15 months ago). So, when that request was made, I couldn’t disregard it,” Dalmiya explained.

Twenty months ago, however, Denness (a former England captain) almost split the world of cricket when he banned Virender Sehwag for one Test and fined five others — including captain Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar — during the controversy-packed Port Elizabeth Test.

Thereafter, the ICC had formed a three-member Commission (Majid Khan, Andrew Hilditch and Justice Albie Sachs) to look into a number of issues including Denness’ action.

The composition of that Commission, though, was objected to by India and, in March 2002, it was reconstituted with Wesley Hall, Bob Merriman, Peter Chingoka and Lord Hugh Griffiths. Intriguingly, the Commission never met. Effectively, then, the Denness-business was already ‘dead’.

Monte Carlo saw the formal ‘burial’.

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