Another contract row goes to arbitration April 26, 2007

West Indies players and board again at loggerheads

Cricinfo staff

Talks on Sunday between the West Indies board (WICB) and the players' association (WIPA), aimed at finding a solution to the row over player contracts for the forthcoming tour of England, broke down before they ever really got going. The matter will now be sent to arbitration.

The WICB, which had for many months acknowledged that the tour was outside the ICC's Future Tours Programme and as such subject to separate negotiation, suddenly changed tack and claimed it was, after all, covered by existing agreements. WIPA refused to accept this.

Since a Memorandum of Understand was signed by the two parties last year, almost every tour contract has ended up being sent to arbitration, and the board has yet to have a ruling go in its favour.

With the England tour due to start at Taunton on May 12, both sides need a decision soon. It is expected that the arbitration panel, which is believed to be the same one that backed WIPA in the argument over contracts for the World Cup, will hand down a ruling by the end of next week.

A source close to the players told Cricinfo that the constant battles over contracts on the eve of tours was having a detrimental affect on their preparations. Less than a fortnight before the squad should be setting out for the four-Test, three-ODI series, they have no captain, no coach, and no named side.