Sri Lanka news

SL contracts dispute threatens Bangladesh series

Andrew Fidel Fernando

March 2, 2013

Comments: 34 | Text size: A | A

A dejected Mahela Jayawardene with Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka v West Indies, final, World Twenty20, Colombo, October 7, 2012
Players have refused to accept SLC's decision not to pay 25% of their earnings from ICC events © Getty Images
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A major contract dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and the nation's top cricketers has threatened to derail Sri Lanka's home series against Bangladesh, after all 60 players who were offered contracts have refused to sign, with the deadline upon them.

The players will meet with Sri Lanka Cricket on Saturday evening to attempt to break the deadlock, but SLC has already threatened that players who do not sign their contracts will not be considered for selection in the upcoming series. The contracts had been issued to the players earlier in the week, with signed contracts due in on Saturday, March 2. The major dispute for players is understood to be SLC's refusal to pay 25% of their earnings from ICC events, as they have done since 2003.

"The stance taken by the executive committee is that players who don't sign, can't play for Sri Lanka, so we'll have to abide by that decision," SLC president Upali Dharmadasa said. "The selectors will meet tomorrow to name the final team for the Tests, and we will have told them the situation."

Complicating the negotiation procedure for the players has been SLC's recent decision not to recognise player representatives, including both player agents and cricketers' associations. Forty-eight players had signed a letter requesting Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association general secretary Ken de Alwis be appointed honorary, unpaid players' representative during the negotiations, but SLC has ignored this request.

"We are hoping that after tonight's meeting, SLC will agree to let someone independent go through the contract and advise the players," de Alwis said. "The problem is that the players don't want to sign something they don't understand, but I haven't seen the contract myself, because SLC has not released it to me."

SLC paid players 25% of the earnings from ICC events because the players' images and likenesses are used by the ICC to promote the tournament, and by the ICC's official sponsors, for the duration of the event. During that time, players' private sponsors are unable to use their images for commercial purposes. Most cricket boards compensate their players for selling their image rights on to the ICC either by paying a percentage of their earnings from each ICC event, or a percentage of their annual earnings.

Last year SLC had attempted to trim the amount they paid to players from ICC events to 20%, claiming the board bore administrative costs on the gross payment made by the ICC, but the contracts were eventually amended to stipulate only 25% of SLC's net profit would be paid to players.

In addition, SLC's new contracts have moved to freeze payment to players taking part in the IPL, for as long as each player is with his IPL team. Under the new clause, if a Sri Lanka cricketer joins his IPL team a week before the 2013 tournament begins, and remains with the team until the final on May 26, he will lose 16.4% of his annual salary from SLC. Home boards receive 10% of each players IPL pay, and SLC even agreed to can two Tests in the West Indies, effectively to accommodate the IPL's full schedule this year.

No Sri Lanka players have made themselves unavailable for international cricket due to IPL commitments, though in 2011, Lasith Malinga retired from Tests in the middle of an IPL tournament, which he would have been required to leave early to play Tests in England, while others, including Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, missed a warm-up match prior to that series. SLC has recently defended Malinga's decision to retire from Tests, however.

Among the other sticking points in the contracts are a clause that seeks to tie payment to team performance and ICC rankings, and another to scrap the one business class ticket per year SLC offers to top players' wives, who may wish to accompany their husbands on tour. These are not expected to be major sources of debate however.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (March 3, 2013, 15:25 GMT)

i love srilanka,hope their board solve the current problem & we will see a powerful team against bd cricket team so that we can assure where we are now in test cricket.Board should not take the privilege over this.from a bd cricket fan.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

No doubt the board has the aces and they act cunningly.

This is transitional period and they don't have the experienced man Mahela to speak. Chandimal and Mathews won't sign because if they sign it'll become a a betrayal for his fellow team mates (other 21)

i feel SLC like a bully now

Posted by gsingh7 on (March 3, 2013, 6:16 GMT)

It is professional sport with most players wanting to earn big salaries like their software professional bretheren. Why don't the Boards acknowledge the truth and act accordingly.

Posted by smukhles on (March 3, 2013, 2:08 GMT)

@anparhdeehati, To me it looks like Bangladesh bashing has already started even before the series or the preparation match of today. " Even the 3rd string of lankan players can easily beat Bangladesh", really! I guess that was well proved in the Asia cup tournament when the lankans were defeated by BD. So that was their 3rd string team or the very 1st STRING TEAM?

Posted by TYJAY on (March 2, 2013, 23:55 GMT)

I think SLC move is correct. All the top players are earning enough these days. SLC is in debt. So I will support SLC. Not the players.

This would give an ample opportunity to yougters to come up and represt SL. Senior players have been occupying top 11 for ages.

I think this is very wise move by the SLC.

We all know how senior players love IPL money. SO why they want more. They are earning enough .... Give a chnace to others.

Posted by anparhdehaati on (March 2, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

@ All_The_Way: Now BD will thrash Lankans badly! :)

I doubt that. FYI, I am not fan of lankan team. But I trust in home condition, even the 3rd string of lankan cricketers can easily beat BD

Posted by ultracoach on (March 2, 2013, 18:04 GMT)

There is too much money in Cricket these days. When SL won worldcup each player got 1500 $, peanuts compared to what players earn today. But Cricket was in much better shape. Too much money too much politics too much infighting, too much greed....... too little concern for cricket. I have been an ardent supporter of SL cricket from before test status. But now I dont trust the game as much as I did, Cricket is losing 1 fan. But who cares heh... there are so many out there...

Posted by sonu77 on (March 2, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

I think player agents are surely behind this drama.

Posted by 9ST9 on (March 2, 2013, 17:40 GMT)

@rohithreddy "working on your own project outside your work hours can your employer cut your regular salary?" - well there are some contracts that prohibit you from doing ANY outside work related to the industry you work for.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

@All_The_Way If there are no players to play how will BD thrash SL?

Posted by nayonika on (March 2, 2013, 17:31 GMT)

India faced a similar situation some three or four decades earlier but then there was no such big money for the players and certainly no IPL guarantee of fabulous monies for the boards as well as the players. Cricket is no more an ordinary sport of 'gentlemen'. It is professional sport with most players wanting to earn big salaries like their software professional bretheren. Why don't the Boards acknowledge the truth and act accordingly.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 17:28 GMT)

I think he Srilanka cricket should also ban a player who is taking part in IPL and inform the BCCI that if they should not take these players into IPL... will be interesting to see how BCCI reacts..because the real face of IPL may come out....and of BCCI too

Posted by warneneverchuck on (March 2, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

I think only India and AUS players earn good money rest all r like middle class people

Posted by JohnnyRook on (March 2, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

@shihan12. Isn't that what players are doing. They have said they won't play if their demands are not met. I just find it strange that SL board and people in general are so pro-hawkeye and hotspot when SLC is having such financial strife.

Posted by rohithreddy on (March 2, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

@oshadaud.. what do you mean by fair to cut the salary for players who participated in IPL? If you are working on your own project outside your work hours can your employer cut your regular salary? An employer can deduct the salary if the employee didn't show up for work. SL doesn't even play any cricket during the IPL. Hence the players are free to do whatever they want in those days. SLC is already getting 10% of each of their player's income from IPL. And they allegedly got a lot of money from BCCI on the condition that they don't play any cricket during IPL. Why are they still so money hungry?

Posted by KingAjmal on (March 2, 2013, 16:58 GMT)

Now BD will thrash Lankans badly! :)

Posted by BnH1985Fan on (March 2, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

It's hard to feel sorry for these millionaire players while fans must shell out big money to buy tickets to the games. And guess who suffers when anything goes wrong (like players refuse to play because the contracts are not to their liking, or despite lucrative contracts players under perform) -- you guessed it, fans!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

Well from my point view players have their right to have money which they are deserved to. how come SLC board can put such a rule on their players. if board doesn't has money it should look out for the other way to solve their money issue rather than by forcibly taking players money. Sri lankan players always committed to play for the country but as usual it will be resolved by having involvement of top politician!!!

Posted by SyedAreYouDumb on (March 2, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

Another West Indies like series (2009 one) going to happen to Bangladesh....?

Posted by oshadaud on (March 2, 2013, 16:25 GMT)

Really bad news for Sri lankan fans, specially ahead of the international series. can't agree with SLC's move to cut player's money from ICC events. Players deserve that money. But i agree with freeze payments during the IPL period. I think It's very fair move coz Players earn lot of money during that period. And ICC rankings and team's performance is concerned to the contracts is also a good move. Finally, Hope this dispute will be finished very quickly.

Posted by sabbor on (March 2, 2013, 16:21 GMT)

i think its a game by SLC and that way top players gets some rest with ugly excuse and give some opportunity to young talents, nice move SLC

Posted by Rafelgibt on (March 2, 2013, 16:13 GMT)

This is not good at all from anybody's part.Why most of the players all around the world have become so much greedy?You are representing your country isn't that worthy enough?You are bargaining for money before your country; sounds really pathetic.Just think there are lots of rich men around the world but very few we recognize and admire.But international cricketers are always recognized and heavily admired among all the classes of this society; because, they play for their country without any personal belongings.All the cricketers must have a think about it before they bargain anything before their country.

Posted by torsha on (March 2, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

Home boards receive 10% of each players IPL pay? Really? That's ridiculous.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 16:05 GMT)

@Janith: oops now what will happen to SRI fans and their team

Posted by M_Rakibul_Islam on (March 2, 2013, 16:03 GMT)

This news reminds me the BD tour of WI in 2009 when 10+ senior Caribbean cricketers refused to sign contract. As a result WICB declared the squad with only 2/3 senior players & BD whitewashed them in Test & ODI series. Hope this time SLC won't follow the path of WICB. Otherwise it'll b embarrassing for Lankans.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

Oops now what will happend to the BD fans and their dreams

Posted by ColJJ on (March 2, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

Extremely disappointing for the game. I reckon, Cricket Boards have been playing politics since Mr. Lorgat's time and it is going to ruin the game spirit. Why don't they realize that it's players' money they are enjoying luxuries with. Why are they so reluctant to facilitate the focal point (that is Players) of earnings?? Having a look at the other side of coin, Players should opt another way to protest rather boycotting the game. All the best SL v BD

Posted by KingOwl on (March 2, 2013, 15:41 GMT)

The two parties have to agree to a middle ground. We the fans have no idea of what that right balance is. So, we should be careful when taking one side or the other on this issue. This is like any employment contract. There will have to be a give and take. Based on the recent past, it seems that the balance of power is very much in favour of the players. I think some adjustment is needed for the benefit of SL cricket in general (I do not mean SLC), but cricket in SL.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 15:36 GMT)

I personally disagree with the fact of player agents. bt this collapse here is going in for nothing of value.if this continues Bangla fans will be happy cs there is no doubt we'll be measured underdogs then come on SLC just cool them up.even in my opinion players have the right to represent for their earning for the country. Hope this case will be solved quickly

Posted by shihan12 on (March 2, 2013, 15:29 GMT)

I dont care who the players is..if you cant play for your country just go home..because as die hard fans we dont to see players demanding too much

Posted by Torontoboy on (March 2, 2013, 15:27 GMT)

Noone deserves to sign a contract without understanding the contract.Its the right of a player, but here it looks like SLC forcing to sign the contract with them...

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

Well, it seems this disputes happened in the 11th hour before the series begins, a top politician may have to get involved to diffuse the situation. Which is very typical in Sri Lankan cricket.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

meanwhile SLC staff's pay getting higher day by day,

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

This is not good news at all.But as a loyal SL cricket fan i can't say SLC's approach is all wrong.I support SLC decision on having impact on players participant in IPL. However 25 percent guarantee fees should be given to the players in my view.However SLC is a company which has to make profit by using its employees(players).That's the job they have to do without caring for seniority or players personal gains.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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