Abdullah objects to IMG faux pas


Senior Union Minister Farooq Abdullah on Monday strongly objected to a prominent sports management company unilaterally altering the map of Jammu and Kashmir in an IPL-6 TV production manual.

Abdullah, who is also president of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, said he would ask the BCCI president to have the map corrected immediately, so that such things don’t recur.

“ It’s [maps showing the northern- most part of Kashmir in a ‘dispute’ with China] wrong. Of course, it has to be corrected,” Abdullah, the Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy, told Mail Today.

Asked how he felt about a part of his home state being shown in “dispute” by the International Management Group (IMG), Abdullah said: “ I object to it. Which Indian will not object to it? I’ll ask the BCCI president, and tell him to have it corrected.”

IMG, which has a 10- year contract with the BCCI to organise the IPL, starting 2008, has shown alongside the two maps that Aksai Chin and another part of north Kashmir in ‘dispute’. The London-headquartered company wrote alongside the maps: “The borders of Kashmir (represented by a dotted line) are in dispute. India, Pakistan, and China have differing claims and therefore the borders may not currently be correct.”

But Abdullah, who is also head of the BCCI’s marketing committee, asserted that there was no dispute. The BCCI has, curiously enough, always seemed to have a soft corner for IMG, despite their tumultuous relationship since mid-1990s, when the company organised the annual India-Pakistan ODI series for Sahara Cup in Toronto.

But a dispute between them arose in 1998 when the Commonwealth Games and the Toronto series clashed, and the issue went into arbitration. After much debate, two Indian teams were picked, with one going to Toronto and the other, also comprising Sachin Tendulkar, competing in the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The monetary dispute lingered on and it was resolved just a month before the BCCI announced the IPL on September 13, 2007. “There are no more claims with each other. We have settled the dispute with the IMG a month ago,” Modi had said minutes after the launch function.

According to the minutes of a BCCI working committee meeting held in 2008, a “claim of $200,000 is respect of money withheld by TransWorld International (production arm of IMG) in respect of Sahara Cup 1998.

This money was the amount withheld by ESPN, the Sahara Cup’s principal broadcaster, due to BCCI’s failure to fulfil its obligation to send the best possible Indian team to Sahara Cup that year”. This and a few other issues were resolved as the BCCI was desperate to launch IPL to counter ICL.

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