ICC withholds BCCI dues; but cricketers to be paid

NEW DELHI: India's cricket World Cup squad can finally look forward to lay their hands on the prize money they earned for their commendable run to the finals in South Africa, but the BCCI (Board for Control of Cricket in India) may not be smiling as ICC has held back between $ 8-9 million due to the BCCI as guarantee money for any possible claims made by the sponsors of the event, the Global Cricket Corporation.

The participation of the Indian cricket team in the recently-concluded World Cup in South Africa was always on tenterhooks. Till the last moment Indian cricketers, backed by the BCCI, had not signed on the dotted lines, aka as the ICC's diktat, on certain clauses 

relating to advertising, image rights, etc.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) this week released a cheque of over $900,000 to the Indian cricket board for the squad members for their brilliant display in world's biggest cricketing event, highly placed sources 

in the BCCI said, according to a PTI report.

But the ICC has released the money with the condition that 30 per cent of the amount must be kept aside as a cover for tax demand, if any, from the local regulators of the 2003 World Cup, the South African Revenue Service.

"Though the South African regulatory body has not so far made a tax demand of 30 per cent on the prize money released, it is something which could still be made in near future, according to the ICC instructions received by us," the PTI report quoted a top board official as saying.

The ICC did not hold back the prize money only in the case of Indian cricket team, but they did the same with the rest of the participating nations as well, including winners Australia.

A winner in the league stage of the World Cup received $10,000. The winnings jumped to $40,000 for the winners in the Super Six stage; $400,000 in the semifinals and $2,000,000 in the final. The runner-up's share was $800,000.

The Indian players are fortunate to have received tax exemption from finance minister Jaswant Singh for their sterling performance in the World Cup, unlike cricketers from some other countries including minnows Kenya who have gone public in their appeal to the government to waive tax.

Kenyan captain Steve Tikolo, whose team became the first non-Test playing side to reach the semifinals of the World Cup, recently made a request to his government to waive the tax on income from the World Cup."We did a good job for the nation which the government should appreciate and give us a tax waiver," he said.

Though ICC has released the prize money due to the Indians, it has held back another "$8-9 million due to the BCCI as guarantee money," for any possible claims made by the sponsors of the event, the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), for breach of contracts on the players' contracts issue, the PTI report stated.

The ICC has similarly held back $3.5 million guarantee money due to the England Cricket Board (ECB) for their refusal to play in Zimbabwe during the World Cup and $2.5 million dollars due to New Zealand Cricket (NZC) for 

deciding against playing in Kenya.

Besides the considerable prize money, most of the Indian players are already richer by more than Rs 70 lakhs each as match fees and sponsor's logo money 

from the cricket board for their participation in the World Cup.

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