Sydney:The Indian Premier League (IPL) may be happy it has roped in top Australian players, but Cricket Australia (CA) might still damage the process by exercising a right of veto over the contracted cricketers, the media reported on Monday.
According to a report in The Australian, Cricket Australia (CA) is anxious to protect its players and does not want to see contracted players in a team bearing competitors' branding.
Players need a non-objection certificate from their home board to compete in the IPL, which is backed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Up to 11 Australian and 60 internationally-contracted players signed memos of understanding with the IPL and are supposed to sign completed contracts before the BCCI meets the eight private owners who bought teams at a recent auction.
There is an outside chance, however, that all the CA-contracted players could be playing in the tournament by mid-April. They are expected to tour Pakistan then, but the tour is in doubt because of political unrest and if it is cancelled, they may be free to play.
CA was anxious to appease the BCCI during the racism clash, but it is trying to leverage its control of players to get India to establish a second-tier Indian Champions League, which was planned to include domestic teams playing for a multi-million-dollar Twenty20 prize.
The BCCI has gone quiet on the second-tier (not to be confused with the rebel India Cricket League) element of the deal, but used it initially as a carrot to lure CA into the Twenty20 hysteria.
IPL expects to be able to bid for a pool of international stars at an auction; in a few weeks, but the Federation of International Cricketers Association has instructed players not to negotiate until they see a proper contract.
The Australian players may not be available for the first two seasons, but the owners will be offered a chance to include them on a long-term contract.
The project stalled when the BCCI refused to deal with any player associations, but ironically began to move when David Ligertwood, a British lawyer and player agent who was raised in Australia, was appointed as a third party go-between for negotiations.
The Australian Cricketers Association told Sunday it was confident that acceptable contracts would be ready soon, although perhaps not in time for the cut-off date, which is Friday.
"There's still a couple of issues - I'm talking to Tim May (chief executive of FICA), who is part of this process for our players and all the other international players involved, and whilst it's not there yet, it's not too far away," ACA chief executive Paul Marsh said.
"Cricket Australia has an issue with players playing for a team that clashes with their sponsors. I'm not sure where that is all going to go - it's probably the major sticking point that we need to work through.
"We are looking to negotiate a pre-existing agreement clause, which is what we have in Australia, if a player has a deal that's arranged with a sponsor that clashes with a team sponsor, then the player can fulfil obligations to that sponsor."
Player agent Neil Maxwell, who has been intimately involved with the IPL, said Sunday that things would be sorted out soon.
"They are pressing for the players to confirm their involvement - availability might be another issue, given tours and things - by the end of next week," Maxwell said.