Sri Lanka news November 30, 2011

FICA to look into Sri Lanka's salary delays

The Sri Lankan Cricketers' Association (SLCA) has contacted the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) seeking assistance over the delay in the cricketers' salaries for series following the World Cup this year.

Sri Lanka have played three series since the end of the World Cup in April and the players are still awaiting payment, including match fees and contract payments. Tim May, the FICA chief executive, stated in a release that the association had been contacted to ensure the payments were made as soon as possible.

"We are aware that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is undergoing some cash flow difficulties at present as it awaits its final payment from the ICC for World Cup hosting fees," May said. "But SLCA and FICA will be looking at possible ways of ensuring the monies owed by the ICC, which are due to be paid in late December 2011 or January 2012, are released with urgency, and on condition it is used to pay the players forthwith."

SLC is expecting to receive payments from the ICC to the tune of US$4.3million for co-hosting the World Cup.

May also expressed concern that the long wait for payments could lure players towards lucrative options such as playing in global Twenty20 tournaments, at the expense of playing for the country. "With the IPL and other Twenty20 competitions emerging as a realistic alternative to international cricket for players, the SLC urgently needs to address this situation with its players," May said.

"The players have been incredibly patient to date and continued to play in the interests of their country, but this is now reaching a critical point."

The ICC is expected to disburse payments only after they complete the World Cup audit. "This is a matter for SLC, not for the ICC. In terms of standard policy, the final payments due from the World Cup is only paid on completion of the audits, which is expected to be signed off at the next ICC Board meeting," an ICC spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo.

An SLC official said the board is aware of these concerns and that steps are being taken to ensure the situation is under control. "The sports ministry is making arrangements to resolve this issue," the source told ESPNcricinfo. "The players will be paid very soon. They need not worry."

SLC has been in a financial crisis in recent months following the construction of new stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele, and the renovation of the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo for the World Cup.

Upali Dharmadasa, the chairman of SLC's interim committee, was critical of the previous administration for spending expansively on those stadiums. All three were handed over to the military earlier this month because the board was struggling to maintain them. The World Cup had left SLC in debt to the tune of $23 million and the board had to ask for a grant from the Sri Lanka government.

The payments crisis has coincided with team's plunge in form - since August, they have failed to beat Australia at home and Pakistan in the UAE. The team heads to South Africa next month for three Tests and five ODIs.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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