MUMBAI: The International Cricket Council has cracked the whip on players indulging knowingly or unknowingly in ambush marketing, by threatening to throw them out of the World Cup starting in Dhaka on February 19.
"Any squad member that knowingly or unknowingly breaches the squad terms may face sanctions ranging from financial penalties through to being excluded from continued participation in the event," ICC's legal head David Becker said in a memo to all international players and cricket boards regarding guidelines for endorsements and commercials around the World Cup.
Interestingly, the memo went out on October 26 last year, but the Indian players seem to have just woken up to this threat, with four of them - including Sachin Tendulkar - having sought a meeting apparently to discuss the matter with BCCI president Shashank Manohar here on Friday.
Tendulkar, with teammates Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh in tow, met the BCCI chief ahead of the Indian Premier League's Governing Council meeting, it was learnt.
An IPL franchise source said that the meeting was sought by the players because the restrictions imposed by ICC on brand endorsements would begin seven days prior to the start of the World Cup and end only when a team goes out.
"At all times squad members may not allow their name, likeness or image to be used by any third party in any advertising or endorsement (or for any commercial purpose) in such a way that gives rise to a direct or implied association with the event (the World Cup)," said Becker in his memo.
"During the period of seven days prior to the first match of the event and the departure date of the team, squad members may not allow their name, likeness or image to be used by any third party in any advertising or endorsement (or for any other commercial purpose) wearing team kit, team uniform or practise kit (or any other clothing confusingly similar thereto)," the ICC memo to players said.
"Squad members may not display the branding, marks or insignia of any third party (apart from an approved kit manufacturer, team Sponsor or team logo) while on the field of play," the memo said.
But the ICC has allowed squad members to appear in an advertisement or an endorsement during the mega-event if they wear cricket whites or "any other casual formal or leisure wear", provided they don't appear in the national colours of their team and there is no direct association with the World Cup or usage of logos of the ICC or the tournament.
Becker's memo has also put the onus on ICC's member boards to ensure that the players stick to ambush-marketing related guidelines as spelt in the Members' Participating Agreement.
"Finally, participating ICC members are asked to note that under Clause 1.5 and Schedule 4, Paragraph 2 of the Members' Participation Agreement, members are obliged to procure that their squad members comply with the above restrictions."
"Please assist ICC in ensuring that we comply with our continuing obligations to our commercial partners and protect the value of our current and future rights," the ICC's legal head has concluded.