Sri Lanka contracts crisis March 3, 2013

Jayasuriya steps in to help contracts settlement


Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has stepped in to move Sri Lanka's contract crisis towards a resolution, after his meeting with the locked out players on Sunday night ended with the players indicating they would sign SLC's original contract. Jayasuriya had personally set up the meeting earlier in the day in an effort to break the deadlock, which he has now successfully done.

"The players have decided to put their country first and sign the original contract." Jayasuriya said after the meeting, which lasted over two hours. "Once they sign, they will be considered for selection for the Bangladesh series." The players are yet to put pen to paper, but are expected to do so on Monday.

Jayasuriya said that while the players had agreed to bring the standoff to a close, they expected to have further discussions with the board on the key issue of contention - that of compensation for the use of their images by the ICC and its sponsors, during ICC tournaments. Under their 2012 contracts, Sri Lanka players received 25% of the net fee paid by the ICC to home boards during ICC tournaments, but in the 2013 contract they have agreed to scrap these payments entirely.

"In the meantime when the ICC events come, the players will talk to the SLC what they are going to do about the players' guarantee money," he said. SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga was unwilling to call the crisis closed until contracts were signed, but was pleased with the outcome of Sunday's meeting. "What I've heard from Sanath is that the players will sign, but a full resolution hasn't been reached," he said.

If the original contracts are signed on Monday, Sri Lanka's cricketers will not have gained anything from the standoff which lasted little over 24 hours, largely owing to SLC's powerful bargaining position. In the weeks before the contracts were issued, SLC announced it will not recognise player managers, and has since extended that policy to players' associations, who were not allowed to represent the players' interests during the contract negotiations.

In addition to doing away with player payments from ICC's guarantee fee, the new contracts also allows the SLC not to pay a player's regular salary for as long as he is with his IPL team. A convention that allowed players' wives to travel business class on one tour a year was also scrapped, and a clause that tied payment to performance as per the ICC rankings, introduced.

The contracts had been issued late last week, with March 2 being the deadline prescribed by the board. After the players refused to sign before the deadline, SLC immediately engaged the strategy laid out by its executive committee, which was to freeze the players out.

"They will definitely not be considered for selection," SLC president Upali Dharmadasa had said on Saturday. "They will not be getting any facilities that Sri Lanka Cricket has been offering them, including physios, masseurs and coaches. They can't come for practice at our venues."

Jayasuriya's selection panel was expected to name a squad for the first Test against Bangladesh, on Sunday, but delayed the announcement until after Jayasuriya had met with the players. If the players sign as agreed, a full strength squad is likely to be named on Monday, after the contracts have been finalised.

The only direct effect of the lockout so far has been Kumar Sangakkara's omission from the side playing a three-day tour match against Bangladesh. The match was supposed to be Sangakkara's return to competitive cricket after fracturing his index finger during the Boxing Day Test.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • manjula on March 4, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    If SLC want money...have more tournaments instead scapping them. Increase more competative cricket. Send more players to IPL. Scrap SLPL if it is a loss. Why don't SLC be transparent and publish the SLPL financial report. If SLC cannot handle the country's no#1 revenue earning sport, something wrong with the management or someone behind the scene is earning more money. If SLC want to start good foot, start with public shares and release quaterly report on finances.

  • manjula on March 4, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    For those who says country applies to both players and SLC board. For those who saying players should not ask more should apply to SLC board as well. It is the board asking more money. Now their earnings are to dig into players money. What is agreed in the past should be paid off. SLC had money but they lost it and now asking players the money.

  • Sanath on March 4, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    Great stand by the board! and pay for performance just like any other job is the way to move forward. Country comes first!

  • manjula on March 4, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    For decades SLC board hasn't done any proactive to increase revenue. It is players old and new brought revenue to SLC. SLC even loss builidng stadiums. Instead of digging into players income why don't the SLC be creative. SLC is broke not because of players, it is SLC doesn't have a plan. Hope someone with good learship run it. Neither Upali Dharmadasa nor Thilanga Sumathipala knows any. All these years players kept SLC running and SLC need more from players.

  • chami on March 4, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    look's like ppl thinking about how much players earn, what about the money board earn ... what they going to do with that money if they dont share with players... someone going to have that ...

  • Dummy4 on March 4, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    @ bharath74....These cricketers will not suffer in poverty and unable to pay bills when they retire due to these amendments in Contracts. They still get 20-40 lakhs per month....Is not it enough to feed their families to feed? Most of them have already earned for next 2 generations through Cricket.....You are trying to prove these guys will be poor due to these amendments???????.... You are trying to help the poor guys..Lol..

  • Dummy4 on March 4, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    All Players in the world run after money - They forget that country always comes first.

  • Sandeep on March 4, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    One thing all these people should understand is this is the players life.They can only make money now.Once they are retired/Out of form/injured no one will be there to take care of them. There is lot cases happend to sports people like this.So what is wrong in they making money.Someone was comparing to govt employees salary to cricketers salary.If you work in govt /private office you are getting what you are entitled for the job.sameway cricketers has to do their job and they need to pay well.There is no wrong in it.Is the politicians not making money.i need to ask the person compared govt employees to cricketers, is politicians deserve the money they are making.

  • Kuldeep on March 4, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Money, money, and money ruining the game again! I think the SL players are greedy bunch, they make far more money from IPL than playing for their country. The Sri Lankan board needs funds to finance the game for local non IPL players. It was a good stand by the Sri Lankan board.

  • Dummy4 on March 4, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Its unfair to look at players salaries alone.There is lot to this than just numbers.Earning 4 million per month is fair based on international sports and these guys are international players that brings value to the country unlike cricket officials or politicians .Plus with that money they do lot of charitable work and think about the brand value they bring to the name Sri Lanka.Plus some players have invested their money in businesses,that adds value and jobs to the economy.That is productive work not like stupid spending on cricket grounds like SLC officials did during the world cup,that's waste of money nothing is created,that money should have been spent on development of cricket.Paying higher salaries attract good players not just for cricket but for any other sport.That's why all other sports in our country is in ruins.You need good players to create money and then develop sports,we are here talking about bad management from SLC,get that right.

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