World T20 2016 February 10, 2016

The exchange of letters that show the deep rifts in West Indies cricket


The exchange of letters between Darren Sammy, West Indies captain, and Michael Muirhead, the CEO of the West Indies board, shows the deep divisions between players and administrators as World Twenty20 looms.

Darren Sammy's 2nd letter:

Thanks for the response, Michael.

Look, I do have some further comments and queries.

Firstly, as a group we don't accept that WIPA can represent us. WIPA became conflicted during its negotiations with you and compromised itself.

It could not and did not actively represent the best interests of all West Indies cricketers and is a major reason we are having this discussion.

The difference between the remuneration on offer from previous World Cups to this one is shocking and we cannot accept the terms on offer.

For instance, in the 2012 T20 World Cup the lowest paid player was guaranteed US$57,937. Thehighest was guaranteed US$137,045.

Figures were higher in 2014. Players were remunerated based on their experience as well.

You said that it was not possible to calculate a percentage to be paid to the players. Can you then inform us of the amount WICB received in the new payment structure from the ICC?

To now be offered just US$6,900 per match across the board irrespective of experience is totally unacceptable. Players are being asked to start providing services from nearly four weeks ahead of the World Cup and be guaranteed just US$27,600 if they play all the guaranteed matches (which) is a staggering reduction. We are looking, even on 2012 figures, (at) reductions of between 50-80%.

What happens if you do not make the playing XI?

If the team plays matches ahead of the tournament that are official T20 matches they should be remunerated as well. Since you have taken out the 25% share from ICC which was Guaranteed to the squad:

We suggest that 100% of prize money needs to be paid to the players as per previous tournaments. Twenty percent should not be retained by the WICB.

It is the players performing for the prize and further cuts are again completely unacceptable.

What is the sponsorship income that has been generated? We are being offered a percentage of what exactly? With the tournament a month away has the WICB locked in a sponsor? With the tournament happening in India we would expect that our squad has something of significant value to offer, or is the sponsorship income zero? We also suggest that the match fees be doubled from US$6,900.

In summary, we cannot accept the terms on offer. The players are not happy and understandably so with such big differences.

The previous structure worked and players were happy and understood it.

Please address this urgently.

Regards, Darren Sammy

Michael Muirhead's response

Dear Mr Sammy,

Thank you for your response.

Any issues you or a particular group of players may have with the representation you receive from your association, respectfully, are best taken up with WIPA. As it stands however, WIPA is the exclusive collective bargaining agent for West Indian players--regardless of who those particular players may be at any given time.

Kindly note that the terms on offer were negotiated and agreed between WICB and WIPA with the assistance of representatives from the ICC and FICA during a mediation process last year, and all parties agreed that they were fair and equitable and acceptable to be offered to the members WI team selected for the relevant ICC Event.

As mentioned in my previous email to you, this information was shared with all players following that process in May last year. Players were given an opportunity to discuss the new structure and no concerns were raised at that time. It is disappointing that you would choose to question the terms now, on the eve of the WT20 in India.

Given the input and effort that went into reaching the agreement with respect to player compensation for ICC Events, WICB is not prepared to unilaterally vary the position at this time, or to negotiate different terms without the involvement or endorsement of WIPA.

The old hierarchical system of payment meant that the 15 man squad selected for a particular ICC Event received a grossly disproportionate amount of compensation for just that one event, with senior players gaining significantly more only on the basis of having played more international matches, whereas the new system means that 25% of the distributions received from ICC are placed into the player payment pool, from which players at all levels of West Indies Cricket can benefit.

In any event, as stated in my previous email, the WICB no longer receives any money from the ICC which is specifically linked to any one event.

It is unfortunate that you feel unable to accept the terms on offer.

We are looking forward to you accepting the terms on offer. We will await confirmation from each player as to whether he is accepting or refusing selection to the WI Team for the ICCWT20 2016.

If we should not hear from any player by February 14, as outlined in the email from Mr Holder, we will presume that you have refused selection for the event.

If you would like additional clarification on any of the issues raised in your mail, please do feel free to give me a call so that we can discuss.

Regards, Michael Muirhead Chief Executive Officer

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Derek on February 12, 2016, 8:46 GMT

    I still think Messrs Muirhead, Cameron et al need to work voluntarily for the next 5-10 years for the good of WI cricket. Would it not make better sense for Mr Muirhead to call Darren and discuss the matter or even agree to meet with him or a larger collective of players. Here he is in slave and master mode. Its basically take it or leave it. There is no sense of your are world number one, the competition expects the best WI can offer. No hint or suggestion of a compromise agreement. It would be interesting to see the original agreement and variations. WICB is never known to fully disclose its hands.

  • Harindranath on February 11, 2016, 16:53 GMT

    There is no doubt that West Indies should sent the team that signs the contract and drop the current players and bring Chanderpaul as captain and coach. This is reminiscent of the series against Bangladesh when Reiffer was made the captain and this very Sammy played leading to his subsequent elevation to captaincy,

  • RYAN on February 10, 2016, 23:09 GMT

    I find it very interesting that Darren Sammy's letter begins by addressing the CEO by his first name, whereas the CEO's response addresses him as Mr. Sammy. What does that say about how each gentleman feels about the other and also how each one sees himself ??

  • Josiah M. Philip on February 10, 2016, 21:04 GMT

    these guys only play t20i anyway so a contract annually is unfeasible. Holder, Samuels, Taylor and younger bravo all have retainer contracts so they get a monthly stipend plus whatever sponsorship they get from digicel and match fees I believe.

  • Raw on February 10, 2016, 19:48 GMT

    who among the 15 member squad is a part of WIPA?

    Samuels? Holder?

  •   Deepanjan Datta on February 10, 2016, 19:31 GMT

    Unlike many recent times, this once I'm tempted to side with the WICB, if what Muirhead says is true. (a) Agreeable or not, WIPA is the official player's body, and the new payment structure was circulated well in advance last year (b) Unless there was a pre-determined hierarchical contract retainer, it's unfair that for the same number of games and same effort 'experience' should buy anyone more money. That isn't to say Sammy, Gayle, Narine, Pollard, Bravo or Russell aren't far superior T20 players than some of the rookies, but they implicitly agreed to the terms. Suddenly a month ahead of the tournament the pay-cut sends them scrambling to arm-twist more pay? for what? They're rolling in millions as freelance T20 players for several leagues. If they don't have the pride for representing West Indies cricket, they don't deserve pampering. The only bit I agree, is that 100% of the prize money belongs to the players.

  • K on February 10, 2016, 17:51 GMT

    I am West Indian. I would suggest the ICC refuse a 2nd string WI team if the WICB has intentions of doing so. I would suggest the players be paid 100% for THIS WT20. This would motivate them to do well; the selected lineup is a strong winning side. I would suggest the WICB Admins take a pay cut and resign. 20+ yrs of decline is enough.

  • Ali on February 10, 2016, 17:36 GMT

    If players have to get pay cuts... then Administration needs to take pay cuts as well ....

    If players must play for "pride" ,, then the administrators should administer for "pride" as well ....

    When we compare WI player salaries to the lowly Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lankan Players , why don't we compare the WI administrator's salaries as well ? Because Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Pakistani admins get paid just as poorly as their players ..

    How can WICB justify paying the administrators at English and Austrailian rates, but expect the players to accept Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi rates ?

  •   Cauldric Miles on February 10, 2016, 15:45 GMT

    After the India pull-out these guys played in SA and SL without bringing out these issues. Why now? These guys has lost sense of WI pride. To make millions worldwide and whine over a few thousand dollars that their country cannot pay them. I prefer this system that all cricketers get a salary (though meagre) than the elite/top make millions while others turn beggars.

  • Andy on February 10, 2016, 15:29 GMT

    Lets not tiptoe around the real issue. West Indian cricket has been utterly mismanaged for 20 years by an elite for whom corruption is a byword. Anyone who wants to get their hands filthy in the cesspit of WI cricket should read the various articles by the barbadosfreepress (just search on google).

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