West Indies contracts row July 9, 2009

WIPA claims 'no response' from board

Cricinfo staff

The West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) has accused the West Indies board of not responding to its submission of "marked up" retainer contracts last month and then penalising players for not signing the contracts in time. The board vice-president Dave Cameron, on the other hand, said contracts had not been signed because of the WIPA's "unreasonable behaviour".

On Tuesday, the WIPA announced a boycott by the original squad of the first Test against Bangladesh starting on Thursday and said the players had played for four successive tournaments without receiving contracts. The players' body has released what it claims to be the facts, based on meetings with the WICB over the last four months.

On its website, the WIPA says that on March 24 and March 25, the WICB and WIPA met and made proposals with regard to fees for retainer contracts. The board proposed that the most pressing issue was the contracts and fees of first-class players and suggested that this form the agenda of the next meeting. It stated that in April, the two reached an agreement on retainers and fees and the WIPA received a draft copy of the retainer contract; it was asked by the board "to provide documentation with regards to the players Intellectual Property Rights and Image Rights which WIPA did".

Later that month the WIPA "submitted to the WICB what was agreed by the parties on April 2nd 2009 which included the retainer fees among other things". A week after this, the board responded "confirming agreement including the fees relating to the retainer contracts". In May the board told the WIPA it would be willing to discuss the contracts "after it had received the marked up version from WIPA".

The WIPA claims it submitted a marked-up version of the retainer contract to board official Alanna Medford but received no response for a month. WIPA said it did not get a reply after writing to Medford in June that the players were keen to sign the contracts. On June 17, WIPA said, it received an email, also sent to West Indies captain Chris Gayle, from WICB chief financial officer Barry Thomas in which he said: "I would like to address the issue of retainers and wish to point out that the time for signing retainers has passed. Our major sponsor has withheld three (3) quarterly sponsorship payments for October 2008, January 2009 and April 2009 respectively totalling USD 3,000,000 as a consequence of the delay in signing retainer contracts. We have been penalized for not delivering central contracts in the required timeframe. These contracts are required to be signed so that they take effect from October 1st of each contract year." The WIPA said it sent a letter to the WICB president Julian Hunte demanding an explanation for the email but did not receive a reply.

Cameron said each year since the contracts were agreed, WIPA wanted to make changes to the standard agreed form. "They are not prepared to agree on any contracts unless the changes demanded by them are incorporated," Cameron said. According to him, only 16 contracts were signed which did not include "most of the senior players".

On July 8 WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine said the decision to pull out of the series came after the latest talks with the WICB failed to resolve several issues. "They are now being asked to play their fifth consecutive series without a contract, which is highly unacceptable," Ramnarine said. "When a player called me last week and asked what was the position with regards to his injury while playing cricket for the West Indies in the just concluded Twenty20 World Cup, my response was that was there was no written contract in place and therefore any action that would have to be taken would have to be taken in that context. Professional sportsmen should not be allowed to play any sport that has such a high risk without the necessary protection."

Hunte said the Test would go on despite the boycott and a second-string squad, which included nine uncapped players, was announced shortly before the start of the game. Hunte told Reuters there had been "a lot of intimidation of players" but refused to elaborate on who had intimidated which players.

Shortly before leaving, Gayle apologised to fans on his Twitter page. "Heading home, sorry to all the cricket fans - this is the last thing we want to happen to the game. Need respect and stop taking us for granted!!"

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Keith on July 12, 2009, 1:32 GMT

    As a proud West Indian, who had the priviledge of seeing most of our great, accomplished players in action throughout the years, I feel compelled to state my opinion on what has become a very embarrassing spectacle for West Indies' cricket. I happen not to be a favourite of WICB, but quite recently have been forced to view WIPA, under the leadership of Mr. Ramnarine with an eye of scrutiny. I happen to be in Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year for the England tour when WIPA held their annual awards dinner. It would serve Mr Ramnarine well if he takes a hint from the message sent to him by Mr. Jack Warner( one of the most successful business people in the region) during his speech presentation that very night. I also wish that the WICB or some other authority would be kind enough to air or print Mr. Warner's speech for that occasion. I conclude by saying, WICB allowed too much mediocrity and indiscipline, WIPA's management has a personal vendetta with WICB, hence the constant standoff

  • george on July 11, 2009, 2:54 GMT

    I see no reason for a team that have done nothing but disappoint thier fans to ask for more money. I understand when you work you should get paid but i these guys play for a paycheck and not the love of the game. I blame the west indies managemnet for this strike. I see know reason why they are letting the WIPA hold them hostage. I hope they move forward and let those looser go and get a 9 to 5 job. They need to give those bums performance contracts.......and start looking at players from the west indies not just jamiacan, barbados , trinidard and guyana. That i don't undersatnd and no one says anything about the crap that goes on.

  • Michael on July 10, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    I looked at the replacement XI selected for the W/Indies and find the selections very muddling.

    Nelson Pascal - young and very aggressive - bowled with pace and hostility during the tour of England and got among the wickets. Kevin McLean - voted most promising fast bowler for the last two seasons, plus being among the highest wicketakers. Yet neither of these two players were given their chance.

    How come, even on a second string W/Indies squad, these two players can't get into the starting XI?

    We should be using this opportunity to give our future players a look in on international cricket. Come on WICB, use this opportunity properly.

  • Michael on July 10, 2009, 13:09 GMT

    I only hope some of the replacement players perform enough that we can do away with our 'money hungry underperfoming players'.

    It's time the WICB show some spine and stick to their guns.

    Who knows, this strike may be a blessing in disguise as it may give the W/Indies a fresh start with hungry committed and disciplined players.

    Hope Braithwaite, Pascal, Roach, McClean et al stand up and be counted.

  • david on July 10, 2009, 12:20 GMT

    hey mr howzzat07 the problem with the WICB and WIPA existed most likely before you even knew about it and you have no right to insult west indies players like that those same waste of spaces sent india england and australia packing in the last 20/20 world cup . i admit that the player shouldnt have taken that route but if it were you im sure you would like to be paid!! and unless you can perform better at that standard or understand the situation from everyones point of view

  • dilshad on July 9, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    players are not playing, this is the stupidness of WICB.

  • Roy on July 9, 2009, 21:24 GMT

    What a shame, the disease of the WI team since the glory days of the 80s Great world class talents all along, but no proper grey matter to manage them. No wonder this debacle just proved the extremely poor level of motivation dished out. What results can one expect when playing cricket to win is in competition with other issues on the minds of the players. Grow up WICB. You people are a complete disgrace and should drown yourself in the seas surrounding your beautiful islands

  • dilshad on July 9, 2009, 21:19 GMT

    this is a highly shameful to the WICB that their national team has refused to play. actually board has no respect to the national players. what is the reason that every year WICB behaves roughly with the national players....? who is responsible....? i think WICB. next time WICB should do home work to overcome this problem.

  • Mark on July 9, 2009, 20:01 GMT

    And another thing, I for one won't watch this team play. There's much better cricket on at The Ashes.

  • Mark on July 9, 2009, 19:57 GMT

    The West Indies team can go to hell for all care. Boycott the first test? What makes you think you are entitled to come back. You have shortchanged the fans you... The WICB should take this as the rebuilding cue it needs. Those wastes of spaces like Gayle, Sarwan, Benn, Edwards, Ramdin, Morton, and the rest wouldn't make any other country's C side. I hope the WICB bans them for life.

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