West Indies retainer contracts July 18, 2006

Bravo omission lands board in hot water

Dwayne Bravo was adviced to concentrate on his county stint wih the WIPA settling the retainer issue © Getty Images
The decision by the West Indies Cricket Board not to offer Dwayne Bravo a retainer contract because of his pre-existing contract with TSTT - a rival of Digicel, the official WICB sponsor - has put the board back on a collision course with the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA).

WIPA was already at loggerheads with the WICB after the board announced that it would only award eight retainer contracts after originally agreeing there would be ten as stated in the Memorandum of Understanding between the WICB and WIPA.

But the excuse used to omit Bravo appears to completely ignore the agreement made between the ICC and FICA, the international players' association, which states that all existing contracts should be honoured and no player should be prohibited from being selected or being awarded a central contract simply because he has a pre-existing deal with a rival.

Tim Nafziger, Bravo's agent, has raised the issue with WIPA. "I never complained directly to the board about anything," he said. "I took up the issue with the Players Association. I also never complained to the WICB about pressure from Digicel to have Dwayne give up his TSTT contract." Nafziger said that he advised Bravo to sign the contract with TSTT as he didn't foresee any problems in doing so. He reasoned that the contract was more lucrative compared to that of Digicel's.

"After looking at the results of the arbitration process that took place between the board and WIPA, I thought it was safe to have him enter into this contract", he said. "Digicel also offered him a contract but I was not happy with it. Personally, I thought that their offer was too negative and I advised Dwayne to stay with the TSTT contract."

While the seven players who have been offered retainer contracts would not be better off by signing, they were willing to do so as a compromise. However, recent developments mean that they might now reconsider their position.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo