ICC, players reach deal; India stars will play Champions

MUMBAI: At last the team at Sony Entertainment Television India can breathe somewhat easy. It took longer than expected but finally agreement was thrashed out between the Indian cricket players in England and the International Cricket Council (ICC) that will allow the top stars to play in the Champions Trophy, beginning in Sri Lanka a week from now.

And one major factor that facilitated the deal was that the Board of Cricket Control in India washed its hands of the whole affair and left it to the ICC and the players to work out something. The signals emanating from the BCCI in the recent past have provided more by way of noise and bluster than anything else.

ICC chief executive Malcolm held discussions with the India players in London over Wednesday and yesterday before reaching a point of common ground. According to the deal, the ICC and the tournament sponsors agreed to drop the six-month clause that would have allowed the ICC sponsors to use footage from the tournament for their promotional campaigns.

As far as the ambush marketing clause was concerned, the earlier one-month ban on stipulation has been dropped and the personal endorsement restrictions will remain till the day before India's second Test against the West Indies begins 17 October. The Champions Trophy will conclude on 30 September.

Meanwhile, the ICC yesterday categorically denied reports that it is seeking compensation from the BCCI. Speed emphatically rejected any suggestion that this was the case, an official release said.

The ICC clarified that what had occurred was that the BCCI sought a blanket indemnity from any damages claim that may be made in the future against it or the ICC in relation to the ICC Champions Trophy. It sought this undertaking from all other countries playing in the tournament. This request was rejected, the release says.

The ICC is expected to put out a statement on the issue later tonight.

The Indian board, meanwhile, has called an emergency meeting of its decision-making working committee in New Delhi on Saturday to discuss the issue.

The ICC said the provisions were part of a US$550 million rights deal signed with the Global Cricket Corporation for its events until 2007.

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