West Indies contracts row July 23, 2009

Lloyd and Holding slam WICB, WIPA


Clive Lloyd and Michael Holding have blamed the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) for dragging West Indian cricket into a corner. The WICB and WIPA, which is negotiating on the cricketers' behalf, have agreed to resolve the impasse through mediation and the appointment of former Commonwealth secretary-general Shridath Ramphal as arbitrator but Lloyd and Holding said the problem would not be solved with a temporary resolution.

According to Lloyd, the leading West Indies players had become too "greedy" for their own good and their performances failed to measure up to the "obscene" amount of money they are getting paid. "When you say the West Indies team is going to withdraw from a series it is not that they are short of money. We have players who are millionaires with an average of 15.00 and they are a first-team pick," he said.

Lloyd was astonished about the fact that only three of the first-team players have a batting average of 35-plus [Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle]. "We have players who are being paid $500,000 or more and they do not pay a cent in any tax. We are the only country where players don't pay any tax."

Holding, part of Lloyd's famous fast-bowling quartet that helped establish West Indies' dominance in the 1970s, said the blame lay with both WIPA and the WICB. "The WICB are a dysfunctional organisation that need to realise they are dealing with a modern game and changing times," he said. "They have been left behind due to their inept staff and an outdated board of directors, most of whom take up space instead of offering something to the organisation or the game."

As for the WIPA, Holding was not sure if certain individuals were using the players' body to actually settle personal scores with the board. "Have they [WIPA] ever produced a list of members to show whom they represent?," he said. "Are people involved with their organisation carrying chips on their shoulders or grouses with the board from their playing days?"

Lloyd was not far behind in criticising WIPA. "WIPA is not trying to achieving anything but strengthen their bank balance. When you have an association that caters to various needs of the players, you need to love the game and I do not think we have a lot of people at WIPA who are in love with the game," he said.

As an example Lloyd cites payments for West Indies' tour of England where, according to him, WIPA got away with ransom. His main grouse was why the board needed to pay the five players who had to opt out of the IPL mid-way to join England tour earlier this summer. "WICB received $2 million for the England series but our players wanted 600,000," Lloyd said. "Then we had to compensate someone for missing out on the IPL. What I can't understand why do we need to compensate and pay somebody to play for your country. That to me is nonsense. We moved up to $1.48 million but they stuck to their guns and said the board still had to compensate the players who missed out on the IPL."

Lloyd and Holding agree the WICB was, and has been, the original culprit in the case and both have had a pungent taste of the closed environment within the WICB ranks. A few years ago the pair were part of the cricket committee of the West Indies board, comprising former greats, formed to help pick West Indies cricket out of the rut it had found itself after the retirement of the Sir Viv Richards in the mid-1990s. Holding later resigned over differences of opinion with the board. Both now agree that the board needs a desperate infusion of modern professional methods of governance if the game has to progress in the Caribbean.

"It can't be a case where a board member is there for life. The honorary secretary has been around for 40 years," said Lloyd. "The solution is to include former players into its set-up as that would help administrators manage the game better once they understand clearly where the players are coming from."

Holding said the obvious damage to West Indies cricket is the way sponsors will look upon the entire entity. "The performances on the field have not been heart-warming and if the people entrusted to run the game, the people the sponsors will be interacting with directly, are made to look so incompetent, what will encourage them to get on board with West Indies Cricket?," he said. "Nothing works without sponsorship in the Caribbean. It is not a rich part of the world."

According to Lloyd, the only way for players to be on top of the bargaining is by "winning", but the WICB needs to take charge as well. "WICB needs to be in charge just like other countries' boards - Australia, England etc - are."

As a long-term solution, Holding suggested that both organisations first get their act together and become trustworthy. "They then need to copy the formula used by Cricket Australia to compensate their cricketers. It is a very equitable formula that is not a secret and both their players association and the board are happy with it."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on July 27, 2009, 19:44 GMT

    The problem goes beyond the contract negotiations. While I agree that compensation and performance are intertwined, WI cricket administrators have been far too shortsighted in their approach. The success of WI cricket during the 1976-1990 era was as a direct result of the Wes Hall Youth Coaching program. There was collaboration between the island governments, cricket administrators and WITCO. The program went into every corner of the region unearthing lads as young as age 14 and putting them through a well structured program that resulted in the Benson & Hedges annual youth tournament. We learned to play cricket the proper way and the result was manifested years later through players like Richars, Rowe, Kallicharan, Holding, Dujon, Haynes, Croft, Garner, Gomes, Logie, Julien and the list goes on. I have in the past, called for a replication of that program but alas the authorities seem to want an instant fix. If we prepare now, perhaps we can recapture glory in the next 5 to 7 years.

  • Niles on July 25, 2009, 21:46 GMT

    I have to agree with Gustaq, these 2 made a name andliving thru west indies cricket, they fought the board for more money, better training, physio,travelling conditions and what was the result? WIPA!!! Now what would happen if WIPA was destroyed? Will things get better for players?, will they win more?, will the players even want to play under WICB? When we have a player who plays with his heart on his sleeves (Bravo), who staes that his Trinidad's Cricket club is run better than the West Indies, I have to put all the balme on the Board.Where is all the World Cup money, wat facillities have been improved. I dare say the game is nothing without the players, cause without the players there will be no money coming into our cricket. The only ones doing their job in this whole fiasco is WIPA. Mr. captain Lloyd (Dwayne Smith could have captain those teams and won), Mr. Holding, be thankful you played when it was ok to be slaved by the Control Board, but here in 2009 its time to collect dues.

  • Erle on July 25, 2009, 3:13 GMT

    One must forgive Lloyd for not appreciating modern sporting arrangements. The nonsense about players earning obscene amounts of money must cease. Most sportsmen do not last beyond ten years. Often the money they make must last their life time if they are able to invest wisely. Concerning the situation in the West Indies, I am a tired and sad fan. Cricket is the only sport that interests me. I shall not however watch a second-string side when even the firststring is not very good. Moreover, there is no West Indian nation. There is too much insularity within the region. West Indies cricket should be disbanded. Hunte and Ramnarine has killed any enthusiasm I had for West Indies cricket. Let the islands play as single nations. Test cricket will die anyway.

  • Len on July 24, 2009, 17:22 GMT

    I agree with everything that Holding and Lloyd said, but the truth is that it is up to the WICB to sort everything out and they have failed miserably. During the glory years of LIoyd and Richards they were just as pathetic, but we were winning, now that we are totally and utterly rubbish, they can play politics to their hearts content. It is up to the West Indies cricket commentators to challenge them, but all I ever hear are silly statements relating to god! I want constant constructive criticism about what is to be done to change the structure and the attitude of the players and until that is persistently addressed, the WICB will always feel that it can play politics because despite the criticisms they receive, they feel there is no challenge that is forcing them to change their attitude.

  • Derek on July 24, 2009, 14:09 GMT

    The likes of Lloyd and Holding respected former players as they are; should realise that even after they have left the game players are having to look after themselves, while they play and prepare for that day when they can no longer play. Not all are fortunate to ascend to positions of match summarisers, commentators and forge their way into the merry-go-round called the MIS_MANAGEMENT. Align the pay conditions of WI first class players with all the teams against who they compete, such is called a level playing field. Only then can we complain about underperformances. While there is money being generated by the game the people who put their lives at risk must be rewarded. Unfortunately bums on seat counts for very little as sponsorship and TV rights are the major revenue generators. Its about getting the sponsors name out there that counts!!! This happends before a ball is bowled.

  • Stephen on July 24, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    The senior players need to put at least some pride back in our game, because at the moment we do not have any right now it is more about money than playing for pride like the south africans, australians ect. These teams when they play you can actually see that they have a motive to win but the west indies team have failed us it hurts at times to see that we loose. If they were winning often i would of supported thier actions but i can not these guys need to step up to the plate and play for pride, and i thinkthings will get better ask for Ramnarine i think he has a personal issue with the board and he is using this avenue to get back at them, i remember a statement he gave a few years ago. But the board needs to get it's act together and have some board members who have played the game to get the proper assistance that they need if this continues i feel soory for west indies cricket and the foundation that was built on it.

  • Dwight on July 24, 2009, 5:09 GMT

    A basic rule of thumb for all of life, especially with regard to your arena of employment or business, is that you do not bite the hand that feeds you. Both WIPA and the WICB have inflicted huge bites on the cricket hand that feeds them. Having been bitten that hand should now be substantially withheld, both in terms of time and generosity. Fans, sponsors and TV rights purchasers, without which the game cannot survive, should be extremely shy to put their hands in their pockets for West Indies cricket until both WIPA and the WICB find the adult maturity to resolve their disputes, manage their affairs and improve their output appreciably. The upside to all this is that the withdrawing of the hand might be just what is needed for these two "chief players" in the regional game. It just might take starvation for them to finally and fully get their acts together. But then again we can only hope that the cricket hand lives up to the adage "once bitten twice shy."

  • Phillip on July 24, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    Gustaq's comparison of the current crisis in WI cricket and the circumstances during the Packer era (world series cricket) in the 1970's is overly simplistic. At that time the majority of players in world cricket were poorly paid and at levels that would put them barely above what might be considered minimum wage for playing sport full-time. As a consequence many players had to negotiate for themselves numerous contracts for work outside of cricket (such as media correspondece or consumer goods advertising) to supplement their average income. In the present situation we are talking about some guys who are perhaps earning as much as $500K (US) and not being satisfied with that as a salary. Salary at that level would put them in at least the top 5-10% of salary earners worldwide and I am sure provides for them comfortably.

  • Ambrose on July 24, 2009, 3:23 GMT

    I realise that there are 2 sides to any story and that I may not understand fully the complexities of all the issues but I am more inclined to side with the WICB. In my view the whole purpose of Ramnarine is to embarass the WICB and the ICC. To not show up for the launch of the ICC T20 in the Caribbean and after a squad has been named to withdraw their services 2 days before a test match is just not acceptable anywhere and also disrespectful to the fans. I wonder how other international boards would react to something like this. Kp was stripped of the captaincy of England just for stating that he disagreed with the coach! And its not that the players don't have contracts but they refused to sign the contracts offered to them. I am sure that the leading players make enough money these days(more than the former greats who actually won matches.Not mediating first I think was an error.The board is not blameless in this tough. Its looking out for the players has left a lot to be desired

  • Wayne on July 24, 2009, 2:45 GMT

    Wibbly is right on re Ramnarine. I suspect his pockets are allegedly also getting filled. The perception is - he is bed with the lawyers. Fire the Board and fire Ramnarine and then we can start to figure where to go next. We don't need this monstrosity of a Board... just 2 or 3 persons of integrity and there would also be no need for WIPA. The players would be treated fairly and their salary must have some connection to performamce. Australia and South Africa saw the importance of this long time ago... this is not like the boy Scouts..."once a scout- always a scout.' Amigobyc. Barbados.

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