LG threatens to move SC over HC ruling

NEW DELHI: Even as the Delhi High Court weighed in to the ongoing dispute between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) over the payers' contracts issue, LG, one of the official sponsors of ICC, has threatened to move the Supreme Court against the High Court order. 

A division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Devendra Gupta and Justice BD Ahmed, in an interim order issued today, said that sponsorship money or penalties would not be allowed to be repatriated to ICC if India does not play in the World Cup.

Though no official statement from LG India was available till the time of posting this report, company sources and some reports on television channels indicated that the company is exploring various possibilities, including moving the Supreme Court, and is reviewing its legal stand vis-?-vis the ongoing cricket row.

Pepsi, another official sponsor of ICC like LG, said it was still studying the ruling and its ramifications and would wait for some time before coming out with a reaction. 

The court's interim order came on a public interest litigation filed by former Union minister and BCCI President NKP Salve and others challenging the validity of the ICC World Cup contracts.

The respondents, who included the ICC, BCCI and eight sponsors, have been given two weeks time to file their replies. The matter will come up for hearing on 18 February. 

Contacted by, LG India's competitor in the products range, Samsung India, welcomed the interim order of the Delhi HC.

An official spokesperson for Samsung India, which is an associate sponsor in the home appliance category on SET Max for cricket telecast, said, "It is a welcome decision, but we will wait till the final hearing and order. In the meantime, our media campaign is as scheduled." 

Samsung India also said that it has always been for the players and supported their cause and that of cricket, at large. The company has contracted about seven Indian cricketers, including Rahul Dravid, V. Sehwag, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, for commercials.

According to Shailendra Singh, managing director of Percept, that has been instrumental in swinging the BCCI-Sahara group team sponsorship deal, "The court's interim decision is in the interest of India players and Indian cricket. The Sahara group would everything to abide by any court ruling on sponsorship and involving cricketers."

According to the High Court ruling, in the event of the ICC debarring India from World Cup or taking any punitive action against BCCI or its players, the government and RBI would ensure that no foreign exchange is released from the country.

If any action is taken by ICC against Indian players, the official sponsors - Pepsi, Hero Honda and LG - should restrain themselves from telecasting advertisements, the Bench said.

According to Rajiv Shukla, member of parliament and a BCCI member, said, "The cricket row has not been resolved fully and we have full faith in the BCCI that it will come up with a solution. BCCI is all for the players and their rights." 

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