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Sri Lanka players agree on central contracts

Tariq Engineer

July 17, 2012

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene speaks to the media after arriving in Karachi, January 18, 2009
A settlement over players' central contracts was key to Sri Lanka players playing in the SLPL, Mahela Jayawardene had said © AFP
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Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and its players have agreed in principle to the terms of the central contracts for the next year, bringing to an end almost five months of negotiations and avoiding a potential stand-off over Sri Lanka's top players participating in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL).

The new contracts, which will run from March 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013, will bear the existing retainer and match fees, ESPNcricinfo understands.

On Monday, Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, had said the country's cricketers might decide against taking part in the SLPL if the Sri Lankan board didn't "settle" the players' central contracts. The agreement between the two sides means the players no longer have any objections to taking part in the Twenty20 tournament.

"Player contracts will be signed tomorrow or the day after," Nishanta Ranatunga, the SLC secretary, told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday. "It has been agreed upon by the players and the board." Sri Lanka host India for five ODIs and one Twenty20 game from July 21, and Ranatunga was confident the contracts would be in place for the series.

There was a discussion about requiring the players to seek prior permission from SLC before speaking to the media, but that clause did not make it in to the final version of the contract. However, if a player does make comments considered detrimental to SLC, he could face a disciplinary committee hearing.

The contract issue follows a year in which SLC ran into financial problems after running up debts of close to $70 million to finance the building of two international stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele, and to renovate the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, for the 2011 World Cup. As a result the players were not initially paid their salaries for eight months. In December 2011, 42.36% of the fees due to the players from the World Cup to September 30, 2011 were paid. The payment of US$2 million was made directly into the players' bank accounts, instead of routing it through Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), on December 16.

SLC claimed to have paid the remaining dues in March 2012 after the state-owned Bank of Ceylon agreed to release 600 million rupees (approx US$5.07 million) to the board, following discussions with sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. However, the players have not been paid since the previous contracts expired, as the new contracts are yet to be signed.

The SLPL starts on August 11, with the final to be played on August 31. SLC had released a list of 112 local players and 56 overseas players who will take part in the event. The tournament, which features seven franchises this year, will have two more the next year, covering all nine provinces.

Jayawardene, who is the icon player for the Wayamba franchise, said the focus of the tournament should be on developing the game in Sri Lanka. "While we say all good things about the tournament, let me caution everyone … While we are making financial gains, the commitment of the people involved should be to harness the talent, develop the game in the outstations, get every possible youngster involved and let them realise their dream of playing for Sri Lanka one day."

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (July 18, 2012, 13:51 GMT)

SL Cricket must get their priorities sorted out =|

Posted by GalVeddah on (July 18, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

I sincerely hope that those who are responsible of SLPL make wise decisions so as one day SLC to become an independant organization. Then SLC doesn't have to have dance to the tune of BCCI. Then the matches between SL/IND become true cricket matches, not WWF wrestling matches.

Posted by satish619chandar on (July 18, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

I dont understand why SL board is doing like this.. Having backlog for a couple of series is fine but they do play and do get revenue.. And to be fair, their players are playing in and out all thru the year just like Indian players.. Though they wont generate revenue like India, they should be generating much to pay the guys who sweat it on the field.. I would rather salute the SL players for playing the whole year without payment and without showing off in public.. Wish they get the worth of their sweats soon..

Posted by   on (July 18, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

Skipper Leading from the front...Hats off mate

Posted by   on (July 18, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

Mahela is a fantastic Ambassador of Cricket not just for Sri Lanka but the entire cricketing world. Every time he opens his mouth he is very impressive. He is as articulate with his speech as he is with his bat. Unlike most Cricketers that think they are God's gift to the game, he along with Sangakkara are two that truly are.

Posted by   on (July 18, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

Good decision has been taken by sri lankan cricket board. Well that still doesn't resolve the problem of not paying them so far. We do not know a clear reason for not having sufficient money just after the successful World Cup hosting! But I must say, Mehela took wonderful step on monday for is team mates.

Posted by   on (July 18, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

SLPL is an exiting prospect. This would really open the doors for youngsters in our country. It would have been even better if the rule was to play at least one under-23 and one under-19 player in a team. Still at the end of the day i hope young cricketers still aspire to play test cricket for sri lanka more than anything else.

Posted by bored_iam on (July 17, 2012, 22:29 GMT)

Lets hope the SLPL is a financial success or we'll end up seeing more Ind-SL matches!!!!

Posted by   on (July 17, 2012, 17:36 GMT)

now when will SLC pay the last 5 months dues?

Posted by Sinhaya on (July 17, 2012, 15:43 GMT)

Please pay the players for the England tests and Pakistan tests with immediate effect. No need to bother about SLPL!

Posted by   on (July 17, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

While we say all good things about the tournament, let me caution everyone … While we are making financial gains, the commitment of the people involved should be to harness the talent, develop the game in the outstations, get every possible youngster involved and let them realise their dream of playing for Sri Lanka one day. ....<3 u Mahela

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