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Graded payment may start with Pak tour: Dalmiya

BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya says lawyers are giving a final, legal shape to the much-talked about players' graded payment and contracts system.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2004 02:55 IST

India's cricket chief Jagmohan Dalmiya says lawyers are giving a final, legal shape to the much-talked about players' graded payment and contracts system, which could come into effect before the team leaves for Pakistan on March 10.

The talks between the players and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which have been going on for about two years, have culminated into a legal paper and the players' lawyers are now polishing the language, Dalmiya told IANS in an exclusive interview.

Dalmiya also said that since the players are now talking directly with the BCCI, there was no urgent need to recognise the Indian Cricket Players Association (ICPA), which was formed in October 2002.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: What is the status of the players' graded payment system that was to come into effect with the Pakistan tour?

A: We had said that it would be done before the team goes to Pakistan. It is not happening, but there is no controversy or difference of opinion between BCCI and the players. We have already agreed on all the terms and conditions and everything. It (graded payment and contract system) is now being given a legal shape. Our lawyers have prepared a document and given it to the players. They are consulting their lawyers, who are taking a little time. They are asking for some clarifications etc.

We thought that after the Indian team's return from Australia, we would be able to finalise it within 10 days. It is absolutely round the corner. We still have got a little time. Maybe it will be signed, maybe not. But it is a matter of a few days.

Q: BCCI is talking with the players on graded payments. Does it mean that the board is looking positively at recognising the ICPA?

A: I have said from the very beginning that the ICPA can do the monitoring. We are setting things in place, and if we (BCCI and players) can talk with each other directly why they, or I, will say 'okay, you don't talk to me, you talk to somebody else.'

ICPA can play a very useful role, provided they are monitoring -- like once the arrangements are there, the contract is there, then they can look into it. But, otherwise, no such necessity or urgency has been shown by any party (for ICPA's recognition with the BCCI) because that is not needed. ICPA at the moment is not that important an issue that needs sorting out.

We are sorting out one issue after the other, like

we have announced a Rs. 5,000 monthly pension for all retired Test players and umpires.

Q: Since the International Cricket Council (ICC) has granted the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) to attend its meetings, will it be natural for BCCI to recognise ICPA so that it could then become part of FICA?

A: FICA has five or six of the 10 Test-playing countries as members, while the permission to attend ICC meetings has been given on an experimental basis. But the countries that do not have a players' body, their boards will be representing their players at ICC. Some boards have just said 'let FICA talk about our players.' If the players feel more comfortable in their boards' handling it, where is the problem? And the ICC has, anyway, not permitted FICA members to attend its general body or executive meetings.

FICA came to the Indian board when India was visiting England in mid 2002 and they tried to talk so many things and then they went away, dumping the Indian players' cause. Now, the Indian players don't want to look towards FICA. They gave in writing to BCCI before they went to New Zealand in late 2002 that they want the board to handle it (players' commercial issues with the ICC). That's why the BCCI is representing them at ICC.

Q: Some time ago you announced bonus for players for winning matches, like the one given to them for reaching the 2003 World Cup final, and deductions from players' money for poor performances. Will the same rule apply on the Pakistan tour?

A: It is the bonus contract that has not been signed yet. When the agreement will come up, it will be signed. It was a bonus we gave to the players when there was no contract with them.

When the contract comes up, there will be a bonus clause and there will be a penalty clause. But it depends ... there may not be any such clause.

At the World Cup, there was no agreement with players; we ourselves gave it on a trial basis. When they lost in New Zealand in 2002, there was no such clause, but on their 2002 England tour, we deducted from their money for one match that they lost and we paid them for the matches they won. They won more matches than they lost.

As I have said, the documents for the graded payment, which also includes contracts, are with the lawyers of the players.

Q: BCCI last year planned a tournament for corporate houses in which each teams was to include businessmen, Indian Test/one-day players and some foreign players also. What happened to that?

A: With the crammed ICC 10-year programme for Test teams, it is becoming so difficult to get a slot. Although this tournament is supposed to be played under lights in April or May, where is the time? We are returning from Pakistan on April 18, and going to Bangladesh soon after that. Even if we play two Tests and three one-day internationals in Bangladesh, it will need about a month. So there is not time. But have not given up on the corporate cup.

Q: What is the present BCCI stand vis-à-vis the three banned players -- Mohammed Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and Ajay Sharma -- who have moved the court for the lifting their bans imposed for their alleged role in match fixing?

A: What stand we have... they are all subjudice cases. We have to say nothing.

Q: Suppose Jadeja performs well in domestic tournaments in which he is playing...

A: It is for the ICC to decide whether they will allow him (to qualify for selection in the Indian team) or not. For domestic tournaments, we are not coming in their way -- but the case is going on simultaneously.

Q: Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma have also moved the court?

A: If the court allows (them to play first-class cricket), so be it. We are not taking any vindictive attitude against them. At the same time, the case is subjudice, so we can't do anything.

First Published: Mar 02, 2004 13:08 IST