MPA face-off: ICC reaches out to Indian players

MUMBAI: The jousting being played out through the media between the ICC and the Indian cricket board shows no signs of any let-up. In a clear attempt to demarcate what it sees as the BCCI's commercial interests and that of its players, the ICC today explained that the Members' Participation Agreement (MPA) for ICC events from 2007-2015 will provide greater flexibility for all the players taking part.

ICC general manager - Cricket, David Richardson, said, "The new MPA will be more flexible for players than previous agreements regulating participation in ICC events.

"In drafting the player terms that fall within the MPA we have taken on board the views of players, including views expressed from India, to build a framework of agreements that will provide added benefits to players."

Richardson's comments are pertinent if you consider the kind of statements that Indian cricket board officials have been issuing on the subject. The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India vice-president Lalit Modi was quoted by Agence France Presse news service as saying: "The MPA in its existing form affects BCCI's commercial interests, gives ICC the right to change agreements unilaterally and affects the players' interests. The MPA would affect the BCCI and the players' interests for a period ranging from six to nine months. We are very unhappy with the way the MPA has been drafted."

Countering Modi's line, Richardson says, "Players will be faced with fewer restrictions regarding their own endorsement deals and will have greater control over the use of their own player attributes before, during and after ICC events.

"The formal and informal discussions that we have had with players and their representatives indicate widespread support for these developments. The new system will have the added benefit of incorporating clearer guidelines and opportunities for all.

"While the ICC is required to deal directly with the Indian board on player issues, I've always enjoyed a good relationship with the Indian captain Rahul Dravid and several of their leading players and, should the BCCI permit, I'd welcome an opportunity to answer any queries they may have."

India, which hosts the ICC's Champions Trophy from Saturday, won the right to hold the 2011 World Cup jointly with neighbours Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The ICC has given the BCCI till next Monday (9 October) to notify it of any and all difficulties it has with the MPA. About the deadline, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah told AFP. "We have been given a deadline till Monday to inform the ICC of our objections and we will meet that date."

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