Canada news May 17, 2012

No pay for players following Toronto All Star T20


Top international players who participated in an 'All Star Twenty20' event in Toronto last weekend, some of them travelling from as far as South Africa and Sri Lanka, have been left in the lurch over their appearance money and in some cases reimbursement for air travel. Events company Kat Rose, who organised the event, said they incurred substantial losses when six Pakistan players including Shahid Afridi pulled out at the last minute. The company is in contact with their lawyers and accountants to resolve the issue, but has not put a time-frame on when monies will be distributed.

The match, which was played in Toronto on Saturday, was billed as a high-quality encounter between the best Asian and international players in the game, and was marketed primarily with the city's Asian population as the target. It featured several internationals such as Mark Boucher and Sanath Jayasuriya, who were left without their fees.

Boucher told ESPNcricinfo that he has not been paid, but said he "enjoyed the experience of playing in Canada". He added that he had delivered all receipts on monies spent, including an internal flight in Canada, to his agents and they will try to recover the money. Boucher posted a message from Toronto on Twitter which read, "Absolute shambles at the @T20AllStar2012 in Canada. No players been paid. No organisers here to explain! Disgrace for Canadian cricket! So sad!", followed by "doubt any international cricketers will be back here in Canada after this".

Jayasuriya told Canada's CBC news that he has "been playing for the last 20 years and never gone through this kind of thing before", and that he is owed $15,000 for his flights and appearance in the event. And the former Pakistan offspinner Saqlain Mushtaq said those who took part wanted to help the cause of cricket in Canada but needed their basic requirements met. ""The cricketers went to Canada with their best intentions to support the event and we delivered our side of the deal," he told PakPassion. "We flew out there from all parts of the world, played to the best of our ability, so we have done what was required from us. I would urge the organisers to deliver their side of the deal and what was promised to all of the cricketers and pay us our dues."

Herb Choga, president of Kat Rose, denied some of those claims. "There are lot of rumours [around] that are difficult to justify," Choga said. "Everything has happened in such a rush and everything is a bit upside-down." Choga denied that Boucher had to take an internal flight. He also said that Jayasuriya was not owed as much as $15,000, although Choga would not say how much exactly was due to him. Boucher said it was not a "great deal of money, but money is money, after all".

Kat Rose's financial troubles came to a head in the week leading up to the match. The PCB refused to release its star players for the event. "We heard on the Tuesday before the match that the players may not come but, through Cricket Canada, we engaged in further negotiation. We even spoke to the Pakistani consulate in Canada. Up until Thursday we were hopeful that they would be there," Choga said. "When the players pulled out, we were in a very difficult position. We had a totally different concept to what was advertised. We had to refund tickets and investors pulled out. We had a choice of either cancelling the match or continuing."

Choga said he asked the players who had made it to Toronto whether they wanted to go ahead with the game but was upfront with them about the circumstances under which they would be playing. "I made it clear to them what situation we were in," Choga said, referring to the fact that Kat Rose no longer had the money to make payments immediately. "I gave them a choice [whether to play or not] and Brian Lara, for example, said he was not willing to play but he would come to the match." Lara's omission from the International XI was widely questioned on the day, with no explanation offered.

Various Canada players made up the rest of the Asian contingent and the result was a much lower-profile event, played in front of an estimated crowd of 12,000 in the Rogers Centre, which can hold over 50,000. Both Kat Rose and Cricket Canada made a loss and the players involved have not received any remuneration. "We've got our accountants and lawyers involved to see what we can do but nothing is certain right now," Choga said. "We owe banks money and we owe sponsors explanations."

Cricket Canada, meanwhile, has also not been paid its share of the monies either and has expressed regret over the matter. While Choga said Cricket Canada was paid certain instalments in the planning phases, he admitted they were not given any of the ticket proceeds. Doug Hannum, the Cricket Canada chief executive, said they also suffered financially and although they are not directly responsible for player payment, they "will not take a penny until the players have been paid".

Hannum said Cricket Canada had noted a few important lessons from the botched arrangements of the event. "What we have learnt is that is it not easy to host these kinds of events and it requires the co-operation of multiple cricket boards. We will not enter into an agreement like this again unless we are absolutely sure that the people we make the agreement with have made proper arrangements."

Still, Hannum believes the match was "a great success and quite well attended given the circumstances". He acknowledged that Cricket Canada's reputation would have suffered as a result of the failed organisation. "It doesn't help our cause at all and it will make it more challenging for us to try and hosts events like this in future," he said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on May 20, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    1. This event was explicitly advertised on the basis of confirmed attendees 9 of whom did not play. But, first KatRose spokesman denied advertising like this. But now Choga says "We had a totally different concept to what was advertised" 2. KatRose spokesman stated that he has confirmed signed contracts which he is happy to show us. Yes please! 3. KatRose are aggrieved at player cancellations. But KatRose evidently kept secret Lara's non-participation from the paying customers. 4. Choga claims he gave players the choice of not playing. But the CBC news video footage of the players shows ...? 5. Choga on CBC video tries to arrange payment of the players. But not by his KatRose company, but a phone call to someone else - Cricket Canada who did not contract the players and had not received any of the ticket sales proceeds! 6. KatRose refused to refund (per comment) but Choga says "We had to refund tickets." Perhaps there is a word for this?

  • David on May 20, 2012, 1:12 GMT

    Surely this is purely and simply the fault of the organisers. They organised a match which clashed with Pakistan's national team training camp, and failed to obtain permission for Pakistan's players to be released, then were surprised when those players weren't given approval to jet halfway across the world to play. Personally, I think that the cricket boards of the world's countries should each adopt a "no No Objection Certificates for ANY T20 cricket in any foreign country" policy. Pakistan's national team's results for the last two years are clearly a positive consequence of IPL exclusion, and Australia, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand should simply ban their nationals from playing ANY foreign T20, any time, any place. I've spoken with a small number of players who have told me what garbage they found IPL and Australian Big Bash to be: they freely admit that they just pimp themselves out for the $$$. The talent pool isn't deep enough for these trashy tournaments.

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    Well cricket is money now, no one botherd when Bangladesh pulled out of its promise to visit Pakistan. after reading this i cant find any assurance from PCB that it will release its players so haters make sense when you start chirping, Pakistan have an important tour coming up and a wise man wont send key players for such a event and risk key players Srilanka tour is far more worthy then this event. Feel sorry for those who couldnt get payments its failure of poor organisers rather Pakistani Players.

  • shameem on May 19, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    Cricket is a gentlemen's game -- BUT not the T20. T20 is a farce in the name of cricket! IPL (Indian Problem League) is the main problem!! So the gentlemen in Canada wanted to stay away -- that's all!! No whinging please about money!!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    Stop criticising Pakistan. They have a tour of Srilanka where they'll play 2 T20's as well which is vital for the T20 World Cup this year. They are having a training camp and can't allow their star players to leave for such events. It's a shame when people start criticising the players on the basis of their nationality.

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    This is what happens when 'boys' take on a 'man's' job. KATROSE got it wrong right from the start. Choga and his team are downright amateurs at organizing mega events such as this. Katrose were seeking advise from locals who were 'nobodies', who misguided them. It is was clear case of the "blind leading the blind".

  • Shiv on May 18, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    and you blame IPL for not taking in Pak players...

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    I consider it as utter failure of CRICKET CANADA, They have put the future of INTERNATIONAL CRICKET in canada in grave yard. As a controlling board/body, they have proved their complete IMPTANCE, Cricket Canada should have come forward and helped KATROSE in persuing PCB to release the players, The board to board handling was misshandled. resulted in NOT ONLY KATROSE loosing their shirt, but CRICKET in Canada has now a very bleek future. No other board, No other international players will trust any future organisors here. Even local organisors will hesitate to come forward to organise any such event and Cricket Canada has proved its unworthyness, incapability, and untrustworthyness.

  • I on May 18, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    Not sure why the PCB is taking flak when its players are at a training camp for an upcoming international tour, and where the organisers failed to gain confirmation of their participation. And let's not forget, Pakistan international players have not had positive experiences in Canada in the past, both in terms of poor planning and disgraceful spectators, so it's understandable why they would not want to go again.

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    @wiseshah I agree with you. Very sad that such top players could not take the high road. Money os money, but sometimes men can choose to rise above the situation. @rukii The case can be made that Canada is not doing well in Cricket, but I feel that now, with a large influx of Asian Immigrants who love the sport, that they will be doing better than before. Don't forget that cricket is difficult to market to an audience used to football, basketball, soccer and hockey. And yes it is shameful that they couldn't organize the tournament properly, but it wasn't the country or the board that organized it, it was some Kat something. So please don't be too quick to judge the Country that was voted the number one place to live in the world.

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