RCB players in the lurch over payments
Several leading India and overseas players contracted to Royal Challengers Bangalore, including team captain Daniel Vettori, are awaiting the first instalment of their fees for the 2012 season. Australia allrounder Andrew McDonald is believed to be another player who has not been paid, along with some members of the support staff. The South Africa Cricketers' Association confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that five South Africans had outstanding payments due to them from the Royal Challengers. The South African cricketers on the Royal Challengers roster include A B DeVilliers, Charl Langeveldt and Rilee Rossouw.
Though this is the first season that Royal Challengers have delayed on payments on this scale, the players affected are concerned by the lack of response from franchise officials to their queries. The news comes at a time when the Bangladesh Premier League is in the headlines for non-payment of salaries to its overseas players.
Franchise officials, including team director Siddhartha Mallya, did not respond to repeated requests over several days by ESPNcricinfo for comments on the issue.
The development coincides with the well-documented financial difficulties being faced by the UB group, the franchise owners. Royal Challengers Bangalore are owned by businessman Vijay Mallya through UB Sports Pvt Ltd, a group subsidiary. In recent months, Mallya's airline, Kingfisher Airlines, has been found to be in debt of $1.3b. Recent rumours of the sale of the team's stake have been denied by the UB Group, with a spokesman saying: "There is no question of a stake sale in the Royal Challengers Bangalore team."
The players affected include those from India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. It is believed that Chris Gayle, though, has been paid his contracted amount. "Gayle is looked after separately," a Royal Challengers player said.
Under every identical tri-partite IPL contract, signed between the player, the franchise and the IPL, clause 1.a.i (which covers the schedule of payments) spells out the payment break-up: the player receives 15% of his fee for the season by April 1 (before the IPL or early into it), 50% by May 1 (during the IPL or towards its end), 20% after the Champions League T20 and the remaining 15% by December 1. As of today, Royal Challengers has not met this schedule, with several players still owed 65% of the fee owed to them, nor has it provided any explanation for the delay. It is understood the players emailed the management after the season finished in May, but did not receive a straightforward response.
Heath Mills, the chief of the New Zealand Players Cricket Association (NZPCA), said he'd heard about the delay from Vettori on Monday. "It's disappointing that some of the players have not been paid to date. We hope they are paid before this issue becomes more serious. It really isn't right that people are not paid for work they have already completed, and I can't imagine anyone in any workplace environment being overly happy about that."
"Nobody has come back to us, to let us know what is going on," a player said, under the condition of anonymity. "The people, at the moment, are in the dark. Normally there are one or two cases of delayed payments that we have seen in the previous seasons."
Some players are known to have written even to the Royal Challengers' head coach Ray Jennings, who was unavailable for comment. The players just want to know what the problem is; a clear response will leave them much more comfortable. "There must be a problem. But I need to have awareness of the problem," another player said. "We are adult enough to understand if there is a problem, that is fine, but we have to see how we resolve the issue from here."
Additional reporting by Tariq Engineer, Brydon Coverdale, Sidharth Monga and Firdose Moonda