Flintoff rejects ECB central contract September 16, 2009

'Bungee-jump' scuppered England deal

Cricinfo staff

Andrew Flintoff's agent, Andrew Chandler, has said that a desire to go bungee-jumping was a contributory factor in Flintoff's decision to turn down an ECB central contract.

Denying accusations that Flintoff is a "mercenary" for seeking to maximise his earnings in the final years of his career, Chandler nevertheless queried the ECB's judgement in offering an incremental deal worth £25,000 per year, when his IPL contract alone is worth US$1.55million.

"There were one or two things in it that made it difficult to sign," Chandler told the BBC. "Like he wouldn't be allowed to participate in dangerous sports and he's possibly doing a television series in which he may do bungee-jumping. Also he's got three young kids and Andrew and his wife Rachel both spend reasonable amounts of cash so he has to make plenty.

"I don't know what was in the ECB's mind when they offered him the contract they did," Chandler added. "Because they probably must have known that the money wouldn't have made a lot of difference compared to the sums of money he was earning as a Test cricketer.

"But he is going to end up with the odd sponsorship deal that would be possibly conflicting with an England sponsorship deal and he just wants to have the freedom of mind that he can do what he wants to when he wants to."

Chandler insisted that Flintoff remained committed to carrying on his England career at ODI and Twenty20 level despite snubbing the board's contract offer, and was adamant that the situation would not cause any ill-feeling in the England dressing-room.

"I can't see how not signing his contract could jeopardise his position with England and I've seen reports that it will do this in the dressing room," said the agent. "I don't see what difference it makes whether he is getting paid that extra money or not as long as he does what he needs to do."

Nevertheless, having initially targeted England's tour of Bangladesh for his comeback series, Chandler now believed it was unlikely that Flintoff would be back to full fitness by then, although a second season with the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL was a "realistic aim".

So too is a resumption of his one-day career with his original club, Lancashire. "He is also going to be available for every Lancashire game that doesn't cut across an England game," said Chandler. "Lancashire have been great, they have completely understood his situation and he is going to sign a contract with them hopefully in the next seven days, because he has always been a Lancastrian and always will be."

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  • Salil on September 18, 2009, 22:51 GMT

    Guess why Indian Cricketers get rousing welcome and an open top bus ride every time they win? Annoying to rest of the world, isn't it? The answer is they play for their country. "I am going to come up with excuse to freelance and coach Dubai team or play for IPL for 1.5 mil contract or play with county cric and only if, if I am fit I will play for the country"; and that argument doesn't fare well with most. So after your IPL contract expires next year, adios. You will have to money, but no one will remember you.

  • Stephen on September 18, 2009, 20:42 GMT

    Were international cricket not a professional sport run by amateur minds, players would not have to compromise in order to earn a living appropriate to their talents. Teams would be organized into leagues. Matches would be the length of a normal sporting event. International tournaments would recur reliably and at regular intervals. Players should not have to pay so traditionalists can preserve the boring remnant of an obsolete passtime for the nineteenth-cetury idle rich.

  • Mark on September 18, 2009, 13:12 GMT

    Judging by the photo above he is already doing his bit for red nose day. Seriousley though, I can't see how he can play for England if he is not toeing the party line. Everytime he plays for England he will have to wear the England sponsers logos, or they won't let him play. Vice versa, his own sponsers won't be happy if he's not wearing theirs. Maybe, if he's not being payed by the ECB, he'll have his own dressing room and gate to the pitch like in the old Gentlemen vs Players days.

  • Arron on September 18, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    Once he was the "new Botham"; now, with his deal to coach the UAE, Flintoff appears to want to be the new Don Revie. That's a pretty big fall through the ranks of the most admired English sports people in modern history.

  • Richard on September 18, 2009, 0:00 GMT

    I went to my bank manager today to try to extend my overdraft. He asked why, and I told him that I spend reasonable amounts of cash. Including a prospective hefty ouylay on a forthcoming bungee jumping trip. He told me to belt up and accept the recent £25k contract offer I had received to play international cricket for my country.

  • Simon on September 17, 2009, 19:25 GMT

    emmersonne : 12.39pm

    "And as for what the ECB were thinking when they offered him an incremental contract?"

    Well I think that contrary to orthodox thinking, without being involved in international cricket, Flintoff is in danger of becoming Yesterday's Man very quickly. Sure, if he performs exceptionally well, he may turn this on its head and become the most sought after player in world cricket. But if he turns in a few average performances, which is quite likely following his operation, the cricketing world will soon lose interest in him. As everywhere else these days, there's not much room for nostalgia.

    However much he and his agent huff and puff, I reckon it's very unlikely that he will be picked for England having turned down the contractual offer. The England hierarchy are just not going to let someone, however talented, pick and choose which international commitments to honour. I hope, for Flintoff's sake more than anything, that he's not living in cloud-cuckoo-land.

  • Corrie on September 17, 2009, 15:12 GMT

    Some interesting comments, what i have concluded from reading both sides, is this is a basic business negotiation. Why would Flintoff take the first offer on the table, he would be better advised to get back playing and i am sure if he starts performing as he can, the ECB would be quick to offer an new and improved contract.

    As for the current one day side's performance, i think it would be foolish of the ECB to burn any bridges with Flintoff and maybe in the future with Pietersen, as the cupboard looks quite bare without those two in the squad.

    Also, is Chandler not just performing his duties as an agent, he is trying to protect his client and also look after his clients future earnings, is that not what an agent is meant to do?

  • Adam on September 17, 2009, 14:40 GMT

    Is it just me, or has Andrew Chandler mistaken Freddie for Jordan? Surely we are all fed up with hearing blown-up stories about the minutiae ofFreddie's life and career - and it's time his agent stopped doing him a disservice by putting them out there.

  • The on September 17, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    Firstly he's not medically fit to bungee jump after knee surgery - that's a stupid comment. The rest of it makes perfect sense. Why would he sign a 25k contract that puts onerous obligations on him and constrains his ability to get personal endorsements? It's a perfectly reasonable thing to freelance in those cases. This doesn't mean he's not committed to representing ENG in one-day formats. If he starts to do a Shoaib, THEN criticise him. Until then, he's just had a fair bit to do with winning the Ashes twice and his body is giving out - give the bloke a break. (I'm an Aussie, but I still think the treatment is crook.)

  • Harriet on September 17, 2009, 12:39 GMT

    Oh dear, Mr Chandler, don't treat the English public like we're stupid. Fred's semi-retired at 31 and fancies chasing the big bucks before he's fully retired (which, given the nature of his injury could be at any given point in the future) we get it. Most people would do the same, we're not going to suggest he pleads poverty!

    But seriously, bungee-jumping? Was that really the best excuse you could come up with?

    And as for what the ECB were thinking when they offered him an incremental contract? Probably that spending big bucks on a playing who would probably not BE playing is not justified and there is plenty to spend the money on that will go towards the future of cricket, not its (soon to be) past.

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