West Indies in South Africa 1998-99 November 10, 1998

'Misunderstanding' sorted and West Indies tour is on

Rick Eyre

The West Indian tour of South Africa is back on track as agreement was reached between the players and the West Indies Cricket Board on Monday night. The team flew into Johannesburg on Tuesday morning, Brian Lara once again West Indian captain and Carl Hooper his deputy. The opening game scheduled for today, a development fund-raiser against Nicky Oppenheimer's XI, has been put on hold with the hope that it can be revived later in the tour. Tomorrow's one-dayer in Soweto will get proceedings under way. WICB Pat Rousseau described the dispute as stemming from a "misunderstanding" between the two parties.

In another dramatic day of events in which more crisis talks took place between Rousseau and players representatives headed by Jimmy Adams and Courtney Walsh, an agreement was reached whereby Lara and Hooper were restored to the touring team as captain and vice-captain respectively, and all disciplinary action against nine West Indian players was dropped. No increase has been made to player payments, but a restructure of payments to experienced players was announced, along with a number of other improvements to player conditions and an assurance that the question of increased fees for future tours would be examined.

The first news that there had been a breakthrough came when Walsh told the Caribbean News Agency that Lara and Hooper had been reinstated. It was once the entire West Indian team were on board a plane on the way to Johannesburg that Rousseau was left to address a press conference at Heathrow Airport and give the full details of the resolution. The text of the statement appears below.

Rousseau's statement that "both sides acknowledged that the dispute originally stemmed from a misunderstanding between the two parties" will have implications as the cause of the debacle of the last week is examined. This breakdown in communication brought West Indian cricket to the brink and cost an enormous amount of money in air fares and accomodation. No doubt the Excelsior Hotel at Heathrow, home of the West Indian team for the past week, have been pleased with the publicity.

The Text of the Statement released by West Indies Cricket Board president, Pat Rousseau, in London on Monday night:

"The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and members of the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) have reached agreement on terms that will allow the team's tour of South Africa to proceed.

After lengthy talks between players and officials at a Heathrow hotel over the past two days, both sides acknowledged that the dispute originally stemmed from a misunderstanding between the two parties.

All issues related to fees and conditions for the South Africa tour have been resolved between the two parties.

Mr. Lara and Mr. Hooper have been reinstated as captain and vice-captain respectively and will fly out to South Africa with the rest of the team tonight. No disciplinary action will be taken against any of the players.

The first match will now take place in Soweto on Wednesday; the original match against Nicky Oppenheimer's XI in Midrand (scheduled for Tuesday) has been postponed.

The agreement between the WICB and WIPA covers a number of issues:

  • Reaffirmation of WICB's recognition of WIPA's representative role;

  • WICB and WIPA will work closely in a joint marketing programme from which .. funding raised will be shared between the players and the WICB;

  • The WICB retainer initiative will be reintroduced as soon as practicable;

  • WICB will take all practical steps to improve remuneration of players on future tours;

  • WICB will review current insurance cover to ensure adequacy;

  • WICB will consider and review the grievance and disciplinary code and a procedures, including appeals.

The WICB and WIPA are satisifed with their agreement, which was reached in a spirit of compromise against a background of international concern.

Both parties recognise the historical and social significance of the South African tour and appreciate the high expectations of everyone in the Caribbean, South Africa and around the world.

The WICB and WIPA would like to acknowledge the constructive support received from President Mandela and the Caribbean governments towards achieving an amicable and mutually satisfactory resolution to this dispute."

Source :: CricInfo365