Sri Lanka cricket October 31, 2008

Sri Lanka board eyes tighter control over player contracts


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SLC to open bids for TV rights
  • Sri Lanka Cricket's contract with Taj Television will end in December and Ranatunga said the board will issue open bids for television rights in a week or 10 days. "We were given a directive by the sports minister to cancel the addendums which were signed by the previous interim committee with Ten Sports," Ranatunga said. "According to the first contract it will be over on December 31. We have not got anything from Ten Sport. This time we are trying to go to the market with a different strategy so that there wouldn't be any problems for anyone. A few companies have shown interest already. They thought we would terminate the Ten Sport contract and hand it over to someone else. But after discussions and legal advice we have decided that we will go through a bid process before taking a final decision."
  • SLC will also be looking at new sponsorships for the national team and for its clothing as the contracts with team sponsor Dilmah Tea and clothes sponsor MAS Holdings will also end on December 31, 2008
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Arjuna Ranatunga, the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), has said it is "unfair" the national board does not gain any money for releasing its players for the IPL . The SLC, he said, will now ensure it becomes the sole representative of its players and earns revenue from any future contract they sign with other organisations, he said.

Speaking in Colombo, Ranatunga refused to react to reports of a breakdown in ties with the BCCI following a recent meeting between Indian officials and Lankan representatives in Bangkok to negotiate a US$70 million deal. "I am waiting till I get a report [on the meeting] before I take up the matter," he said. Ranatunga has been a vocal critic of the IPL, comparing it once to instant noodles, and the BCCI has reportedly conveyed to Lankan officials that it will not negotiate with them on the deal as long as he is in charge of the country's cricket.

He made it clear the SLC would soon move to minimise the role of players' agents in the game, especially when it comes to signing IPL contracts, by amending players' contracts from next year.

"The issue with some of the players is that through their agents they go and sign with certain organisations unknown to us and eventually get into a conflict with SLC," Ranatunga said. "One thing the players should remember is that they are employees of SLC. Every year, we sign about 40 cricketers from the national and 'A' teams. We give them very attractive contracts.

"It is SLC that looks after the players from the junior level and brings them to the level of national cricket by spending a lot of money. The SLC is therefore duty-bound to earn some money from these cricketers rather than allow them to make payments to some agent outside. This way, we will safeguard our cricketers and make use of the money for cricket development."

Ranatunga said that the money gained as commission by players' agents from IPL contracts should "come to the SLC because the players are contracted to us". "We release these players for one and a half months but SLC does not gain any benefit. This is very unfair. In future, SLC will become the agents for its contracted cricketers and we hope to earn a lot of revenue though that. We are getting some advice from the legal side on how to go about it," he said.

The eight IPL teams have top 13 Sri Lankan players on three-year contracts, including Mahela Jayawardene, the captain, Kumar Sangakkara, the vice-captain, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas.

"We cannot do anything right now with the present contracts, which have already been signed. But we will include certain clauses into the contracts next year, which would be beneficial to the players and SLC," Ranatunga said.

However, the board will abide by a sports ministry directive allowing Sri Lankan players to participate in next year's IPL instead of a tour to England at the same time that was negotiated by Ranatunga. The England series has since been put on hold. "If we get a directive from the minister of sport to release our top cricketers to play in a domestic cricket tournament in India, we have no right to question it," Ranatunga said.

Ranatunga said the SLC will lose money because of the aborted England series and blamed IPL for the loss. He was, however, hopeful that an arrangement could still be worked out with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) so that Sri Lanka could be part of the Stanford 20/20 quadrangular in 2010.

He blamed the IPL for SLC's loss of revenue due to the cancellation of the "special" England tour next year. "Because of the IPL, Sri Lanka will be losing a lot of money," he said. "We won't be able to play the postponed one-day triangular with India and South Africa slotted for next year. India has postponed that series because of the IPL. Likewise, we will lose US$2 million on the England tour, money which we can make use for the development of our cricket.

Arjuna Ranatunga: "Because of the IPL, Sri Lanka will be losing a lot of money" © AFP

"We were to get some money for the first time for a tour to England. This is a special tour and they were very helpful to pull us out of the red and promise us the money. They also offered us the Stanford tournament as an added incentive. We might lose even that but we are still trying to negotiate," he said.

Outlining his reasons for pushing for the England tour, rather then the IPL, Ranatunga said that Test cricket needed to be preserved and playing for the country should be a player's "first choice".

"I don't want to elaborate anything further than that," he said. "I have mentioned this in a very understanding language to the players and explained to them. Taking decisions on their behalf is not my responsibility. As a past cricketer, I feel we have a great responsibility to see that Test cricket is not surpassed by other forms of cricket especially Twenty20. Instead of pursuing only money for cricket we have a responsibility to safeguard Test cricket."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Iftikar on November 1, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    Not very long ago our captain cool, predicted an Indian wins and supported openly to Indians in TV Studios, (without motivating our own cricketers). Now all of a sudden a shift in gear as predictable as the relationship with another famous SLC chairman.. Is this all about BCCI not obliging a request by our SLC boss? A good administrator like Mr. Punchihewa would have come out effectively in a situation like the prevailing, and surely he would have negotiated the bailout plan by IPL to his best for SLC's favour. We Sri Lankans have only one thing we can go worldover and say we are good at and proud of. Dear Sports Minister it is high time to put an end to Mr. Ranthunga's antiques, its not easy on players when they are threatened with honour and patriotism, Sri Lankans are spirited sportspersons we don't ravage war on sports... Mr. Minister help us Sri Lankans not lose our only pride, our cricketers...

  • Manindra on November 1, 2008, 1:25 GMT

    I think Ranatunga has a point here!. Cricket boards around the world spend huge amounts of money in development and upbringing of young cricketers to the national side. When they make money boards have a right to get some of the money from players and reinvest in development. I beleive here he is not criticizing india in anyway. But the system of IPL which doesn't do this has to be criticized. IPL should have a good relationship with cricket boards around the world as it can back fire them in the future events as boards might rethink about releasing their players to IPL if they don't get anything out of players earnings.

    This is an easy problem to solve as IPL just need to realize that the sole agents of players are their respective crieket boards, not some other 3rd party. As an Indian I hope IPL would resolve this matter so we can enjoy the best in world playing in India....Go Mumbai Indians go!!

  • H on October 31, 2008, 17:31 GMT

    I wonder what is the role of ICC in all this? It looks to me like the United Nations - not much of a say and mostly clouded by the super power -in cricket world the BCCI. Why dont they step up and resolve all the issues. IPL is slowly getting into trouble with everyone, first its ICL and now SLC. Money and power need not lead to Monopoly. In my view IPL should recognize ICL and share its revenues with other boards.

  • H on October 31, 2008, 17:21 GMT

    Both IPL and SLC are correct in their own way. Ranatunga is a good administrator- he visualized what will happen if the present contract of IPL with his players continues. So,hes asking for some changes in the future contract for the betterment of his country. I wonder if IPL contracted SL players while hes in power of SLC or before. IPL on the other hand has the right too - the england tour was not in the FTP before the IPL contract was signed, so the SLC has to honor it. India is doing well in cricket so they are dictating terms - I read Modi saying since Indian cricket is at a high it is taking advantage. Everything is not money and no matter how much u earn u will always be short of it. So,instead of the IPL being a stubborn monopoly - it can respect other boards and share the revenue of this intresting format. On the other hand, SLC and other cricket boards can stop criticizing BCCI/IPL, try to work with it for their own benefit.This is not at all helping the cricketing world.

  • Balaji on October 31, 2008, 16:54 GMT

    Now lets all stop this complete nonsense of BCCI threatening/black mailing. Earlier this year Arjuna Ranatunga had requested BCCI for the India tour to SriLanka which would earn them a revenue of about $15 million. The BCCI laid no demands but just sent its team. The same is the case with all other countries and Boards. They just want the Indian team to tour their country so that they would get revenue from the Media rights. Now all that the BCCI wants is foreign players to play in IPL which many see as bullying or unfair. Infact the BCCI had offered a bail out package of around $70 million to the SLC. It was the same BCCI that toured Pakistan and SL when other countries even refused to do so.Frqankly it is the other nations that use India whenever they are in need of money and later cry foul.

  • H.g. on October 31, 2008, 16:48 GMT

    First I was happy when Arjuna was appointed as Chairman.But now I feel he is not a good administrator.He takes a decision & others have to follow it blindly.You can't run any public institution in this way.You should listen to others interests also. And talking about players contracts this Eng tour was not in the calender.Arjuna just took his own decision without contacting players and surely he knew players had signed contracts with IPL.And he can argue he did it for SL cricket but when you run a institution such as SLC you should aware of everybody's interests.Its not only SLC,players or only countries interests for that matter.Otherwise you can't run it smoothly.He has messed up everything.

  • Karthik on October 31, 2008, 9:33 GMT

    Arjuna Ranatunga should spouting all this cowdung.

    (1) Ranatunga claims the SL players are very well looked after by the SLC with "attractive contracts". What he neglects to mention is that the players have not been paid their dues for many months now. What use are "attractive contracts" if you're not honouring them, Mr Ranatunga?

    (2) He claims IPL Twenty20 cricket is harming the game. Then why salivate at the prospect of playing the Stanford Twenty2o quadrangular, Mr Ranatunga? Plain hypocrisy.

    (3) He claims the SLC will suffer losses due to the cancellation of the England tour. However, he fails to mention that this particular tour was not part of the FTP when the contraccts were signed with the SL players. Could Ranatunga explain why he expects players to play a series that they are not contractually obliged to? It is a reflection of the shoddiness of the SLC's functioning that they did not even bother to factor in the player contracts and the IPL contracts.

  • gautham on October 31, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    why all the fuss about IPl? when the Indian players play county cricket in England, the BCCI doesn't get any money from the england and wales cricket board(ecb). so why expect money from the BCCI?

  • vijitha on October 31, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    I am a Sri Lanka fan. This whole situation shows that Arjuna is not a good administrator. He should understand that this is not his private fight. He represents Sri Lanka cricket as the chairman SLC and his unthoughtful actions/comments will only makes matters for SLC worse. For example, he critisized the Indian team after there loss in the first test against Sri Lanka saying that they didn´t play well because of IPL. As a cricket administrator of one country one should not critisize other countries affairs openly. That is called diplomacy. On the other hand more than half of the Sri Lankan team also played for IPL. So his critisism is invalid. Furthermore he said that he dont like 20/20 but he want Sri Lankan team to play in Stanford 20/20. Arjuna should understand that when Sri Lanka was so called minnow England only gave us single tests while India gave us full test series. What he should have done is he was a good administrator is to negotiate a better deal for SLC with IPL.

  • Jebaraj on October 31, 2008, 8:51 GMT

    It is very sad and damaging to know that BCCI (IPL) is giving money to cancel an Intenational Test Series. I dont understand why ICC is behind the money that BCCI generates like a dog behing the bone.

    ICC allows window for IPL, Champions League and Bans ICL which is incorrect. Just BCCI want the vote of Bangladesh and Zimbawe they are still having the test status.

    Whatver Ranatunga is telling is 100% correct.Lalit Modi and BCCI are the killers of Test Cricket.

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