Digicel-WICB dispute September 27, 2008

Digicel blocks Stanford's participation in arbitration

Cricinfo staff

Digicel, the main sponsors of West Indies cricket, has refused to allow Stanford to participate in the legal action the telecommunications company has brought against the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in relation to the Stanford Super Series. A Stanford media release said "Digicel claims that to permit Stanford 20/20 such access would 'disrupt' the arbitration" which is set to begin on October 3 in the High Court in London.

Stanford wanted to be part of the arbitration proceedings "in order to ensure its position was fully and properly communicated to the arbitrator". The statement said that Digicel's refusal "appears to make clear that Digicel is adamant on pursuing its legal proceedings at the risk of destroying the event [Stanford 20/20 for 20] and causing substantial damage to cricket in the Caribbean."

The disagreement between Digicel, the WICB, and Stanford is over the status of the Stanford Super Series. While Digicel maintains it is an official WICB event with a representative national team and under the terms of its contract with the WICB, that would give it full branding rights. Stanford insists that it is an unofficial team and, as such, is outside any existing WICB-Digicel agreement.

Digicel had proposed a compromise earlier this month but their proposal was met by a counter-offer from Stanford stating they would not bring on board any of Digicel's competitors, would pay all their costs, and would give the company some branding rights at the 2008 event.

However, Stanford's terms were rejected by Digicel who maintained that it wanted the same branding on Stanford Superstars shirts as it has on the West Indies national team's shirts for the next five years.

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  • Fahad on October 2, 2008, 14:02 GMT

    I disagree with Digicel. Stanford 20/20 was a private competition and the new 20/20 for 20 is also a private competition. The team playing against England is not being selected by the West Indies Cricket Board so can not possibly be representing them. Stanford is putting $20m into the tournament and the sponsorship rights are a big part of that and Digicel's trying to claim that they have some sort of preexisting agreement with WICB so that they don't need to pay Stanford for advertising is ridiculous. By the way, there is a very interesting article in Forbes magazine about Allen Stanford's successful promotion of the (original) Stanford 20/20 in a city in Colorado. It's worth a read.

  • Tim on October 1, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    I think that Digicel are perfectly correct to claim that they have the right to the branding for the event. It would be a shame if such a spectacle as this was cancelled due to a legal dispute, but it boils down to whether the Stanford team is a West Indies team or not. To assert that the 'Stanford Superstars' is not a West Indies team is ludicrous. When the contest was announced, it was described as an England Vs West Indies on all of the news reports. Digicel's contract with the WICB is pretty clear that they have the sponsorship rights to any team that looks like it might be a West Indies team, so I can't see them loosing the arbitration on anything other than a technicality. Perhaps Mr Stanford needs to learn that just because he is very rich, he cannot claim ownership of West Indies cricket and ride roughshod over existing contracts. But when did common sense ever come into disputes like this?

  • Harris on September 27, 2008, 9:46 GMT

    I think Digicel are being very unreasonable. This is not the first time they have gotten themselves into a dispute. They are now affecting what was going to be a fabulous T20 game and a true spectacle for the Carribean. This is quite dissapointing.

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