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BCCI, ICL to sign truce?

With the economic meltdown hampering the search for sponsors for both the BCCI's Indian Premier League and the ICL, and the international cricket community putting pressure on both parties to reach an understanding, it is understood they are close to signing a truce, reports Arjun Sen.

cricket Updated: Feb 21, 2009 13:48 IST
Arjun Sen
Arjun Sen
Hindustan Times
BCCI

In a few days, the world will know whether the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and the banned Indian Cricket League have give in to what many on the circuit believe is inevitable. With the economic meltdown hampering the search for sponsors for both the BCCI's Indian Premier League and the ICL, and the international cricket community putting pressure on both parties to reach an understanding, it is understood they are close to signing a truce.

At an ICC meeting in Johannesburg later this week, sources say representatives from the BCCI and the ICL will attempt to thrash out a deal by which the ban on the ICL will be lifted. ICC president David Morgan will negotiate, while Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland will also attend the meeting. Morgan has apparently been in touch with the ICL, trying to gauge how they will react to what are apparently 'concrete suggestions' the BCCI has in mind.

This will be the second time the BCCI and the ICL will meet in the hope of striking a deal. The last time the two parties met, however, things did not quite go according to plan. According to a top source, the BCCI had then offered the Essel Group the option of running an IPL team, provided they disbanded the ICL. “That was unacceptable of course and that's why maybe it was put on the table,” said the source.

While there was no confirmation on what the concrete suggestions the Board has planned, many theories are doing the rounds. One such is that the ICL will pay the Board a hefty 'license fee' and will then continue in its present avatar.

“We are going to the meeting with an open mind. Let's see what the BCCI has to offer us,” said an ICL source.

Asked about the likelihood of deal being brokered, the source said: “We understand that it is a big possibility given the current situation.” Sutherland, too, has echoed a similar sentiment, saying he 'would not be surprised' at a peace deal given all that has happened in the game and in the global economic markets in recent months.