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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BCCI offers amnesty, ICL says league on

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has offered a general amnesty to the players associated with breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL). The so called 'rebels' have been given one month to come back to the BCCI fold on the condition that they would forfeit international cricket for one year.

"We have decided to grant amnesty to all players, support staff and anyone else connected with the ICL provided they cancel all their existing contracts with the league by May 31," BCCI president Shashank Manohar said after the Board's working committee meeting. The players, Manohar said, would be allowed to play in the domestic league.

The ICL said the league will go ahead and those who want to can go. "We have already announced our programme for the Season III. It will be held in October," an ICL spokesman said.

The league also announced that contracts of the non-performers will not be renewed. "Taking forward our Sports Performance Evaluation (SPE) process across all cricket operations, the management has decided not to renew the contracts of some of the players and support staff that have expired. As cricket professionals they are free to decide and explore their options," the ICL said in a statement.

Manohar stated that the decision was taken after "a lot many players and support staff had approached us and admitted they had made a mistake and wanted to come back." He made it clear that the players will not get the unpaid amount.

The Board refused to disclose the names of either the players or support staff who have approached the BCCI but DNA has learnt that three coaches based in Mumbai have done so. One of them, who was already sidelined by the ICL, is believed to have even given a letter of intent to return to BCCI fold.

The decision to provide amnesty to the ICL players has evoked mixed reaction from the members who were present at the working committee meeting. At least three members had suggested that the cooling off period should be not less than three years.

The BCCI has also advised the other boards to have a similar approach towards the ICL players but Cricket New Zealand has said it may not adhere to the one-year cooling off period. The NZC indicated that it might allow banned Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey to return to the national fold as early as August for the Sri Lanka tour.

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