By Vijay Tagore
Cricket Australia (CA) has said that Australian players should not be seen promoting betting, fast food, alcohol and tobacco brands during the Indian Premier League (IPL).
A recent advisory from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the IPL franchises says quoting the CA, “a full team photo – for use only by the sponsors of the relevant IPL team in print media in India and any such photo should not involve or include the name or branding of a company primarily engaged in the business of alcohol, fast food/fast food restaurants, tobacco or betting.”
The Australian board has put in a few other restrictions too, like this one for instance – no more than one player from a Big Bash League (BBL) side and a state team should be used in advertising campaigns.
Says the BCCI mail, “Cricket Australia has imposed the following restrictions on Franchisees’ use of Australian players in advertising and/or promotional materials: In any specific advertising or promotional activity featuring any Australian player (in any medium including TV, radio, press, outdoor, internet, point of sales or on-pack advertising), each Franchisee may only use: (a) no more than 1 Player who has a Central Contract with Cricket Australia; and/or; (b) no more than 1 Australian Player from the same Australian State; and (c) no more than 1 Australian Player from the same Big Bash team…”
The mail further reads, “By way of example: A Franchisee may, subject to compliance with the remainder of these Player Regulations, the Player ID guidelines and the Player Contract, use three Australian players in any advertising material as long as no more than one has a Central Contract and all three are from different States and Big Bash teams.” More specifically, a team cannot use two New South Wales (an Australian State) or Sydney Sixers (a BBL side) players in one campaign.
For the record, there are 19 Australians — Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Rilie Meredith, Ben Cutting, Moises Henriques, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins, Chris Lynn, Adam Zampa, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Josh Philippe, Andrew Tye, David Warner and Mitchell Marsh – in IPL 2021.
A couple of franchise officials wondered why the BCCI has to agree to such conditions, especially with terms coming from a board that has betting and liquor companies as its chief sponsors.
“That is not a major issue because alcohol, betting and tobacco brandings don’t happen in India anyway but the BCCI, in principle, should not accept such conditions,” said a franchise official. Another official said it could be because the Australian board does not want its own sponsors ambushed by a competing brand, even if in another country and in another league, through Australian players.
For example, the BBL is sponsored by KFC, a fast food brand, and the CA does not want two Australians from the same side seen promoting brands like McDonald’s or Subway.
Some statutory guidelines are there on the Indian players too, but almost in an inverse order. A franchise’s campaign should not be based on one Indian player alone – there should be a minimum of three players in an IPL-related advertisement or in a hoarding. It is unlikely a Virat Kohli or an MS Dhoni alone would ever be seen in an IPL branding – they would, invariably, be flanked by at least two more players.