England prepare in case West Indies tour called off
Yesterday Cricinfo revealed that there is another serious dispute looming between the West Indies board (WICB) and the country's players' association (WIPA). The players want extra payments for what they argue is an additional tour outside the ICC's Future Tours Programme, while the WICB maintains that the tour is part of the FTP and so covered by existing contracts. The two parties meet in Trinidad tomorrow but sources are not optimistic that a compromise will be found.
"I'll be having discussions with the West Indies board to see if there are any concerns," David Collier, the ECB's chief executive, told PA. "We're not aware of any serious issues per se, but if there are discussions there must be something serious going on and we'll follow that very closely. At the moment we don't know if it's a major issue or not a major issue.
"I think that if there had been a major, major issue I'm sure we would have been alerted. At the moment we're confident we'll be able to stage the Test series and we hope that will be against a full strength West Indies side. I can't say where it will end up in terms of their discussions but it would be almost unthinkable if their side wouldn't play the series."
Collier went on to admit that the ECB had a contingency plan drawn up in case the tour was scrapped, but would not reveal any details. "This is the first time it's come up, but we've got some pretty good contacts around the world if we needed them."
The relationship between the WICB and WIPA has been increasingly fractious, and almost all recent series, including the World Cup, have been preceded by contractual disputes.