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Sri Lanka full-strength but contracts unsigned

Andrew Fidel Fernando

March 16, 2014

Comments: 60 | Text size: A | A

Sri Lanka contracts issue timeline

  • 2003
  • SLC agrees to share a percentage of ICC event fees with players
  • 2010-11
  • SLC runs up debts of almost $70 million as it constructs stadiums for the 2011 World Cup
  • Feb-Sept 2011
  • Crippled by debt, SLC is unable to pay cricketers salaries for eight months
  • March 2012
  • Players refuse to sign fresh contracts due to a number of contentious clauses
  • July 2012
  • The issues are resolved, and the players sign
  • March 2013
  • SLC strike the players' share (25%) of the ICC events fees from the new contracts, which the players refuse to sign. After a 24-hour lockout, chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya mediates negotiations and gets the players to sign on the understanding that the players' share of the ICC event fees may be reintroduced in future years
  • January 24, 2014
  • Players give Jayasuriya a letter demanding 20% of the gross sum paid by the ICC to SLC for global events. Jayasuriya conveys this to the board, which is drawing up the new national contracts
  • February 27
  • The contracts list is announced and the contracts are sent to the players in Bangladesh. Upon noting that SLC has not reintroduced any clause that would give the players a cut of the ICC events payment, the players refuse to sign the contracts
  • March 12
  • The players meet with SLC to negotiate. The board promises to take the players' concerns back to the executive committee
  • March 13
  • The executive committee proposes an incentive-driven payment system for global events, as a partial sop to player demands
  • March 14-15
  • The players maintain their refusal to sign contracts, insisting on a percentage cut from the ICC payment
  • March 16
  • The players leave for the World T20, although the contracts remain unsigned

Sri Lanka's top team departed for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh on Sunday morning, but the standoff over player contracts persisted, and will now likely only be resolved when the team returns. A board official had offered players an opportunity to sign when the team assembled at SLC's Maitland Place offices at 4am on Sunday, but the players had refused.*

The players had met late on Saturday to discuss their position, but although SLC had issued threats of sending a second-string team to the World T20 earlier in the day, the players maintained their opposition to a contract that does not feature a percentage cut of the payment SLC receives for the team's participation in global tournaments.

On Saturday night, SLC CEO Ashley de Silva indicated the board was content to defer contract negotiations. "If they don't sign it before they leave, I suppose we will look at it again when they come back," he said.

SLC stands to gain most from its cricketers playing in the tournament unsigned. The board is no longer bound to pay the $500,000 flat fee, nor the two-tiered incentive payments it had offered as part of its revised offer, which was a partial sop to the players' demand for 20% of the gross sum received by SLC for tournament participation.

As had happened in 2012, when contracts were not signed until mid-July, the players may not even receive match fees or regular salaries as long as the contracts remain unsigned. These funds are likely to be retroactively credited when the contracts are agreed to, however.

The players had softened their demands by the eve of their departure, asking for 12% of the tournament fee. The ICC is expected to pay SLC approximately $8.9 million for the World T20, meaning the figure the players had held out for, was about $1.07 million. The difference between the guaranteed flat fee the board offered and the percentage sought by the players amounts to about $570,000 for the tournament. But beyond those sums, the players' objection to SLC's proposal is largely driven by the belief they are due a percentage of the ICC payment, primarily as compensation for the use of their images in promotional material for global tournaments.

Sri Lanka's players had received a cut of the ICC event fee from 2003 to 2012, until the board struck that payment from player contracts last year. The players' grievances are also fueled by the complaint that they are being penalised for the administrators' misuse of finances. The board had run up debts of almost $70 million when they built two new stadia and renovated a third for the 2011 World Cup. Player payment has caused strife at the beginning of every 12-month contracts cycle since then.

The present standoff is also believed to have caused conflict within the board. President Jayantha Dharmadasa had been sympathetic to the players' concerns, but was outmuscled in the board room by an opposing faction.

*0600GMT, March 16: The article was updated with the latest on the contracts issues

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

RSS Feeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by kc69 on (March 17, 2014, 7:40 GMT)

Full strength?..I have never seen Chandimal score a matchwinning innings.In short if SriLanka cricket-(Sanga+mahela)<Zimbabwe.

Posted by Cricsnake on (March 17, 2014, 4:47 GMT)

Poor Management strategy from SLC. I think the players should be paid little fixed fee+ large performance basis incentives. They should build a proper performance evaluation system with the help of selectors. If SLC act smart this issue will not be disclosed to media. Crummy piece of administration. Jayasuriya has done his best to resolve the dispute. Better they could find a long lasting solution for this. It is an extra burden for the players & such disputes will demotivate them to perform. Anyway I wish all the best & strength to SL team to win the title for us despite many obstacles to face. Good Luck boys.

Posted by ramz30380 on (March 17, 2014, 3:44 GMT)

@Jury Why do u want to drag Ind into this mate?! Anyways FYI there is an aspiting talent amongst the U-19 ranks who has been lauded by Dravid Sanju Samson is the name - created quite a reputation in the IPL - hard hitting batsman, excellent wkt keeper and he is just 18!

There is life after Dhoni - not to mention Virat, Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Jadeja - all 25/26 yrs of age & have already proved in the internatopnal arena!!! Ind will not be found wanting mate!!!

Posted by class9ryan on (March 17, 2014, 2:32 GMT)

Thank you Sri Lanka Cricket Board for this nuisance. I hope the dressing room takes a toil and Sri Lankan do not win even if they reach finals. ( Not a SL supporter ).

Posted by Nuwas on (March 17, 2014, 2:15 GMT)

It was like in a day today in 1996 we changed the Cricketing History by winnings the WC.... Still can remember that day.... Proud to be Srilankan...

Posted by AVIRAL_Ashok on (March 16, 2014, 19:18 GMT)

@jury really??? I didn't quite know that!!! ha ha

Posted by Udendra on (March 16, 2014, 18:01 GMT)

I won't be surprised if SL exits in first round itself. How can you expect a demotivated bunch to perform well? It's the non-professionalism of the Administrators that is to be blamed.

Posted by Rambo88 on (March 16, 2014, 17:47 GMT)

Looking at Sri lanka's current form and winning the ASIA cup final, It looks like after 96 world cup we are in the best position to win a major tournament. If we can win the semi final with pakistan or australia this time, we should do it. We have the right balance and we also have a team that bats deep plus we know the conditions well and most importantly we broke the jinx with finals by winning the ASIA CUP. so it looks like all the elements our in place for a SRI LANKAN VICTORY.



Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 16:59 GMT)

Big players like Sangakara, Jayawardane, Dilshan, Malinga and Herath can opt to retire together in the same day before WC2015 which will put Sri Lanka in dire straits.

Posted by golfallday on (March 16, 2014, 15:03 GMT)

It is unfortunate that the Board doesn't realize that it is the players that allow them to maintain the lifestyle they do. Again, unfortunately they will use the fact that the players left without a contract as leverage when they come home. If that doesn't work, there is always the option to tarnish their images in the media, see Maliga, Sanga and Mahela as examples.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 8:47 GMT)

can't we run SL cricket without meaningless SLC board. they haven't done a single thing to improve cricket in SL. Of course they did built stadiums but there were lots of corruption. That's what made this situations. Funny thing is they are going to earn money from players instead of coming up with plan to earn money. Do we need a board to do that?

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 8:02 GMT)

with out mahela and sanga..(after retirement) !!!i will be funny lankan cricket.....

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 7:56 GMT)

Sri Lanka is sending players who are very unhappy to T20 world cup.The chances they will perform to their full potential is very very doubtful.What a shame!!!

Posted by Jury on (March 16, 2014, 6:59 GMT)

@basra007 - INDIA without DHONI (Just DHONI) will be the end of their cricket.

Posted by priceless1 on (March 16, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

@ Mihil Ranathunga cant you see? they them selves are the once who is creating these distractions and nonsense

Posted by BDrox11 on (March 16, 2014, 6:32 GMT)

Dear Andrew, you shouldn't post these kind of Articles, which could negatively affect SL team.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 6:30 GMT)

if SL cricket dont like indian cricket, then stop coming to india for ipl. ur player tongs comes out with water when india show some money to there player some money. first clear ur hand before blaming.....

Posted by SandipManjrekar on (March 16, 2014, 5:59 GMT)

SL players remain unwilling to sign a contract that does not feature a percentage cut of the payment SLC receives for the team's participation in global tournaments.

Players leaving for the participation in T20 W/C with with all these distractions and nonsense. Rightly Posted by Mihil Ranathunga.

Some one expressed about SLC's eagerness to point out internal matters to public.

Only welcome incident among all these is affections got to SL players by home fans after winning Asia Cup.

SLC is absolutely unprofessional regarding promoting & marketing the product to gain substantial source of income to the association. Players are doing their job so as selectors, same as coaches & support staff. Apart from these everybody is enjoying in stupid politics.

Posted by basra007 on (March 16, 2014, 5:37 GMT)

srilanka without jayawerdene n sanga will be the end of their cricket

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 5:30 GMT)

And we still except to win T20 cup. Who are we kidding. It's a testament to the talent we have in SL team they still performed admirably with all these distractions and nonsense. Non of our greatest talents are not in the richest players lists. That is saying something..

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 5:11 GMT)

SriLankan cricketers deserve better rewards... Hope SLC addresses this early. Unlike Indian cricketers who despite their consistent performance get rewards with out a fuss... Lankan cricketers don't show off much and perform more than 100% on the cricket field.. Hope good sense prevails and SLC pays them more than what has been offered so far.. They deserve every penny if nothing else but atleast for their commitment to SLC

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 4:18 GMT)

This is certainly good news from a fan stand point, the players however, are at a slight disadvantage now because of the uncertainty. The players should be commended for the way they continue to perform with bureaucratic messes like this hanging over their heads.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2014, 3:16 GMT)

Our guys will perform better.I don't understand why internal issues related to the teach are always brought to media before the team departs for a major tournament like world cup.This is not the first time an internal matter has been taken up public and serious before the tournament kicks off.Our guys are not difficult to nuts to crack.All the internal matters can be sorted out after the tournament.All the best guys !! and bring the cup as you all spectacularly did in the recent Asia cup and 1996 world cup...

Posted by CricketFever11 on (March 16, 2014, 1:50 GMT)

Hi, everyone. We are coming. Keep calm and watch Lions.

Posted by SL_Boy on (March 16, 2014, 1:15 GMT)

players should be allowed to have a union and they can do the negotiations ... this is a vary tricky situation for players.

Posted by KingPower on (March 16, 2014, 0:45 GMT)

This Great Sri Lankan Team must NOT be held responsible for bad Project Management Practices by the previous Board. Let sanity prevail. Let SinghaPower shine!

Posted by neanderthal on (March 16, 2014, 0:07 GMT)

SLC won the bargain the moment they threatened with 2nd string squad. People like MJ and KS can afford to not go to wc but for the youngsters who are yet to establish themselves , the insecurity would be too high. What if these new players play well and take their places in the team. No way the youngsters would risk it.

Posted by 11MP on (March 15, 2014, 23:47 GMT)

What happened? Lions got meows lol

Posted by JoshFromJamRock on (March 15, 2014, 23:35 GMT)

Good that they're going.

Posted by nothingnew on (March 15, 2014, 23:10 GMT)

It is sad for sri lankan cricket .bcos of management failures and Political involvement ,they missed what they deserve . Sri lankan cricket is avaiable bcos of players not specially for management. What president wanted when world cup tournament .I believe They don't want to sign till what SLCB promises to pay what they deserve. good luck for world T20 . Fox management is trying to ruin the SL cricket.

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 22:41 GMT)

Players deserve this percentage. It is their image rights and participation which brings in most of the income for the board at this event anyway. And SL players are the least paid out of the top 7 countries anyway. So who cares if general Sri Lankan income is below these countries. Players should get paid for their services compared with other players, countries etc. And most of all, It's not their fault that SLC is in this mess. It's their political motivations which led to this financial debacle in the first place.

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 22:32 GMT)

@upathy: What do you do if, in this case, the players don't want to sign a performance based incentive contract?

Posted by ramz30380 on (March 15, 2014, 19:53 GMT)

WOW! Its there is nothing more wonderful than having a full team in the competition as imp as the WC T20! Good News at last - but I hope that they get it sorted out at the earliest!

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 18:44 GMT)

thank god..... it wil be a huge devastation if the send 2nd string team...

Posted by upathy on (March 15, 2014, 17:14 GMT)

Cricketers a decade or two ago didn't make even 20% of what an average cricketer makes these days. Good players use to play in English county cricket to meet ends in between national commitment. However since the evolution of T20 began the monetary value has skyrocketed.

Leagues like IPL attract players from all over the world because its a huge venture and a larger market. When the game is changing there is a need for cricket boards to adopt to these changes. It's supply and demand folks.

If the governing body like SLC do not adopt to the growing demand there will be more early retirements for the players from international cricket. They will instead play in these T20 tournaments around the world. Malinga is a good example who stopped playing test cricket very young.

I say negotiate the base salary to a fixed % and add the rest of the revenue share on performance/incentives base. This will motivate the players too!

Posted by SriLankanYoungBlood on (March 15, 2014, 16:54 GMT)

This is very unfortunate situation just after wining Asia Cup. Players should deserve their payments. But i feel players shouldn't go to harsh action instead go to compromising situation. KS and MJ playing major role behind scene hence younger players shouldn't go to harsh action. Because these 2 seniors have maximum of 2 years cricket life but mathews,thisara,chandi,thiri has more than 10 years. It's better youngsters go with discussion with SLC and go to both win solution. Mind you lot of very good T20 players outside this squad so these players can go to minimum of semis. namely Kapugedara,Maharoof,Jeewan Mendis,Dilshan Munaweera,Akila Dhanjaya,Dilhara Lokuhettige,Gihan Rupasinghe,Kithruwan,Ashan Priyanjan and lot of young past bowlers .

Posted by abherath on (March 15, 2014, 14:40 GMT)

@siddharth_2001- this is not a question of confidence. Extending your argument, one could say that all teams should be confident and they should all win the cup (with all 10 teams winning with no losers) and all of them should be incentivzed based on winning the cup. However confident you are, there is no guarantee of winning and that is why these players are not agreeing to the incentive based scheme. Whether the terms they are demanding are fair is a different question.

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 14:20 GMT)

They must get what they deserve... wish you all the best...

Posted by Blade-Runner on (March 15, 2014, 14:07 GMT)

As a responsible governing body,how could SLC say that they would send a 2nd string team ? I mean, do they care only about the participation fee from the ICC ? coz we all know a 2nd string SL side won't stand a chance. So, does it mean that SLC simply don't care if we win the cup or not ?

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 13:53 GMT)

Masterpieces surely come with a larger price tag...very same as You cant by a rolex for cheep. .... keep up the good work Lions......

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 13:50 GMT)

Players deserve a partial payment of ICC offerings to SLC in any contract signings . I am sure SLC won't send a 2nd fiddle team to Bangladesh and this crisis will be resolved through political involvement .

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 13:12 GMT)

SLC must think about players demand of 12% in ICC International Event, players are the Money maker for SLC so give their competitive demand do not selfish if SLC send 2nd team to world T20 they will fist stage back to home so we need our Asia Cup win team to be there good luck SL

Posted by nickexplore on (March 15, 2014, 12:41 GMT)

12% seems more than reasonable, especially with the success the team has achieved recently, and the esteem in which the players are held in Sri Lanka. Sanath did his best to broker a deal, now it is up to Mr Ranatunga and SLC to be magnanimous and acknowledge that this is a great SL team that deserves a fair share of the ICC pie.

Posted by ramli on (March 15, 2014, 12:30 GMT)

@Trent Grbac ... why this fury? N.Hajan merely commented SL as Lions ... are they not? Cool man ... players will budge in the end ... what else can they do? Not found favours in IPL-7 ... WT20 is one to win back IPL contracts next year ... Go SL go ...

Posted by siddharth_r2001 on (March 15, 2014, 11:56 GMT)

So effectively, if SL do win the tournament, SLC is offering them almost the same amount that they are demanding in the first place. The fact that they are refusing it simply means that they do not have the confidence in themselves that they will win the tournament!

Posted by priceless1 on (March 15, 2014, 11:49 GMT)

till KS and MJ in the team we will hear this nonsense demands before any major ICC tournaments

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 11:29 GMT)

Pure greed on the part of SL cricketers and I will tell you why. 1) They are paid fixed match fees, match earnings, sponsorship fees and individual performance earnings for representing their country. This is their salary incl of bonus. What ICC gives SLC is revenue. Can we as employees demand a 12% share of Companies revenue (not even profit which would be a lower quantum) after being compensated handsomely as employees? This døesnt happen anywhere. Not even in Football where players dont demand a cut of what UEFA pays clubs for Champions League appearances. 2) There is no way that loss of earnings from personal sponsorship for two weeks plus their image rights will exceed what SLC is agreeing to offer. SLC should not even offer what they are offering by way of incentive. It should be a flat no. If a player thinks he is getting a raw deal then he can withdraw himself and not participate in the tournament.

Posted by vkumar_086 on (March 15, 2014, 11:10 GMT)

I hope SL fans wont say INDIA is the main reason for this im understanding that why SL board gave unconditional support to BIG 3 proposal (initially after some resistance)....

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 10:31 GMT)

Hey SL cricket fans, lets keep faith that this issue will be resolved in time. After all is said & done a full strength team will represent Sri Lanka. N.Hajan - classless & clueless persons such as yourself are an embarrassment to the global cricketing fan base.

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 10:25 GMT)

If this super star team can't be sure to win the cup and earn $1million, then we might as well send 2nd string team and be prepared to lose the cup and invest the money to develop other cricketers. $500 000 is good enough and another $500 000 bonus if they win is a fair deal!

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 10:24 GMT)

Knowing how stingy SLC is; it looks like the second-string team is the most likely to depart for the WT20. Outside the current main squad, there really aren't many well-experienced players, Maharoof, Tharanga, and Fernando are just about the only ones outside the main squad with more than 100 international games of experience. Please SLC, you can't afford to send a makeshift squad made of last minute picked players to a global event like this...

Posted by t20superstars on (March 15, 2014, 10:09 GMT)

So, thats the end of Sri Lankan cricket. The Board is responsible for all the mediocres happening around. A rift at this time when the tournament is just a week away should clarify that the issue is serious. Sending B team would bring smiles to Rsa, Nz and Eng. Afterall its a T20, so srilanka shouldnt worry much. Bring it on!

Posted by SandipManjrekar on (March 15, 2014, 10:06 GMT)

If players are making glory to the nation & their respective board, then they must get which they deserve. I have lot of respect for SL players just because of their talents, their hard work & their exceptional dedication. They are doing their best since 2000. They are qualifying for knock out rounds in every tournament. They are consistent. As against this, the administrators are making dirty politics here. Even cricketers are going one step behind here but SLC is firm on their predetermined decision. Here their administrative supremacy and arrogance are clearly evident. And I want to see all top players in T20 world cup. The time is now to replace the bunch of arrogant administrators by cricket lover & sympathizer of real ambassadors of the game.

Sri Lanka is known in world cricket by players like Sanga, Mahela, Maliga. Murali & Arjuna Ranatunga.

not by Nishantha Ranatunga.

Posted by ramz30380 on (March 15, 2014, 10:05 GMT)

@MH19 - a second string side?! Are u supporting it?! Youngsters need to be froomed along with the exp ones by their side - Sangakaara and Mahela are legends in their own right - imagine the exposure & learning the youngsters wud get from them... there wont be a good future for SL cricket if they dont sort it out now....

Posted by LoveLanka on (March 15, 2014, 9:47 GMT)

As beloved fans of SL cricket, we don't care who eat the cake. with a higher cost of living we still find bucks to buy a ticket to go to a ground and watch our players perform. any cricket lover wants his/her country to perform well and win. satisfaction is all what we fans get for spending some bucks & valuable time. so, what satisfaction we get if our country is under represented in a global event? what satisfaction we get seen a second-string team of ours get smack all over in a high dencity event? what kind of a proudness we get as SL fans of cricket? still the Board gets $ from ICC, still the first or second-string team gets $ from SLC. WHO IS THE LOOSER END OF THE DAY? the crazy helpless fans. the both the parties knows it well aren't they? so that is why they have nothing to lose.

Posted by MH19 on (March 15, 2014, 9:27 GMT)

This is getting out hands now the players are demanding what they want. SLC should take a decision today that they will announce a second string side and should completely ignore the demanding players so atleast we can build the next generation of the crickerters.

Posted by ramz30380 on (March 15, 2014, 9:24 GMT)

This is the poor state of affairs - SLC does it again..... SL fans are bent upon critizising the BCCI not looking at the mess that their board is in. Such problems have never been the issue with the BCCI as it takes care of its players well.... The players mean so much to the team depriving them of their rightful money - SLC is ensuring that it puts an end to aspiring cricketers dreams in the country!!!!

I still find it unforgiving wht they did to Sangakara during the Champions League, they did not compensate him but expected him to turn up whenever and whereever they wanted him to... this is ridiculous to say the least!

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 9:22 GMT)

Whats going on here.........!!!! Players are not responsible for the financial crisis of SLC.... it happened because of them only. Players have tolerated payment delays once. Because of them SLC get money. SLC must learn to manage them. not sucking into players pocket. Because all these players motivation will be shattered and hearts of millions Sri Lankans' will be broken. Don't do this for our Cricket. I think as a public we should stand up for this. Because of SLC's own agenda all the time players had to suffer. If your heart is broken then how can they play freely. I mean use common sense.... they drop down they margin from 20 to 12 what else to expect. IF SLC SEND A 2ND STRING TEAM THAT WILL BE THE END OF CRICKET AND SLC !!!

Posted by Cric-Aus-SL on (March 15, 2014, 9:18 GMT)

ha ha, Sri Lankans, the Lions!!

Posted by   on (March 15, 2014, 9:16 GMT)

well I don't mind that .... they will still get to quarter finals or semi at least .. .. fair enough

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