SL players, board break contracts impasse
Sri Lanka's cricketers have agreed to sign the board's annual contracts after SLC decided to award the players a 10% cut of the ICC and ACC-events participation fee for the next five years, bringing the seven-week dispute to a close. The players have not yet put pen to paper, but Test and ODI captain Angelo Mathews had struck a deal with the three-member SLC committee appointed to review the issue, after a meeting on Tuesday, an official release said.
"After discussions, the committee in consultation with the office bearers of the SLC's executive committee, offered 10% of the participation fee from the ICC and ACC events to the players which will be applied for the next 5 years and will be non negotiable," the release said. "The above offer was accepted by the players and they have agreed to sign the annual contracts in due course."
The players will not receive a cut from the 2014 World T20, and will instead get US $1.5 million for their victorious campaign, which amounts to roughly 16.5% of the amount SLC received from the ICC.
The news comes one day after the players raised the stakes by attending a national practice session in their own training gear, instead of donning SLC's uniform, which bears the team sponsors' logo. The dispute had been fierce at times, with the board even having threatened to send a second-string side to the World T20 in the 24 hours before the team departed for Bangladesh.
The three-member committee had been composed of CEO Ashley de Silva, treasurer Nuski Mohamed and vitally, chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, who had been central to the resolution of 2013's contracts crisis. Last year, following a 24-hour lockout, the players had agreed to forego their cut of the ICC event fee on the understanding that payment would be reinstated in future years, which promised to be more profitable for SLC. Jayasuriya had brokered that deal and had also fielded the first demand from the players in 2014, when they asked for 20% of the ICC participation fee.
The board initially refused to award a percentage cut, proposing an incentive-based bonus scheme for global tournaments instead. But as negotiations progressed, the players lowered their demand to 12%, and the board replied with a 6% offer, before the sides eventually settled at 10%.
The players had received 25% of the ICC participation until 2012, after it had first been introduced into central contracts in 2003. That payment is intended to compensate players for their image rights, which are ceded to ICC for commercial purposes, during global tournaments.
The agreement restores some semblance of stability to top-flight cricket in the country, a day after head coach Paul Farbrace resigned from his position to take up a role with the ECB. In recent weeks, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have also had a public row with members of the board, which has resulted in their comments and actions being reviewed by an SLC disciplinary committee, despite SLC having earlier announced it would take no action on the issue.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando