Sunday, Dec 22, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
In a release, the ICC President, Mr. Malcolm Gray said that it was "critical that the BCCI acted quickly to ensure that it was able to meet its contractual commitments to world cricket. An emergency Special General Meeting of the BCCI to deal with the Indian Board's contract crisis is a welcome step in the right direction and an indication that the BCCI recognizes the seriousness of the contractual commitments it has undertaken.''
Mr. Gray said "With the potential of large damages claims being brought against the Indian Board if it is unable to meet its contractual obligations, it is important that the organisation is able to get a clear understanding of the facts of this issue. It is also important for all the members of the BCCI to realize that the substantial concessions negotiated by the ICC are as far as it can go without undermining the integrity of the $550 million agreement with Global Cricket Corporation. This agreement is clearly in the interest of world cricket and it helps to underpin the financial health of the game in 84 countries around the world.''
Mr. Gray stated that the questions raised by the BCCI over the terms of the contracts it has signed were now out of date and irrelevant given that the BCCI had knowingly and willingly entered into its agreement with world cricket on 13 March 2002. These issues were also previously addressed in letter to the BCCI from the ICC Chief Executive, Mr. Malcolm Speed.
According to the ICC release, the current agreement binds the BCCI to sending its best team to the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003 and commits the BCCI to ensuring that its team would abide by the Player Terms in the BCCI's Participating Nations Agreement (PNA).
Mr. Gray said "Putting aside what is or isn't in various agreements prior to the BCCI signing the Participating Nations Agreements, the fact is that these matters have been superceded by the latest agreement. If necessary the previous agreements will be made available to an appropriate body at an appropriate time after the World Cup but the issue today is the need for the BCCI to meet its obligations and for the best team to represent India in the World Cup. The ICC recognises that the BCCI has placed itself in a difficult position and with the excellent support of LG, Pepsi, Hero Honda and South African Airways, the ICC's World Cup Contracts Committee has negotiated a series of concessions to assist the BCCI.''
Mr. Gray welcomed the efforts by the Indian Board and noted "I trust that the emergency meeting will recognize the extensive concession made by the ICC's sponsors and that the ICC's World Cup Contracts Committee has previously indicted to the BCCI that it has a clear and compelling contractual obligation to provide its best team for the tournament.''
Mr. Gray also rejected the criticism of Mr. Dalmiya for making a public statement on this issue.
``One of the important aspects in managing cricket on behalf of the hundred of millions of people who follow it is to be open and transparent in running the game. In this case it was clear that there was growing speculation about this issue that was both inaccurate and misleading. For Indian cricket supporters I can't imagine anything more important than knowing that their best team will be at the ICC Cricket World Cup next year and I think it is important for them to understand how the BCCI is going about making sure that this can happen.''
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