West Indies contracts row July 11, 2009

WI board pays for media campaign

Cricinfo staff

The West Indies Cricket Board has come under fire after spending thousands of dollars on full-page advertisements in newspapers across the Caribbean to explain its side of the story in the dispute with the players' association (WIPA).

On Friday, the WICB, which had already been sending regular and lengthy releases to the media, took the almost unprecedented step of paying for advertisements in many leading newspapers outlining its position. However, by the time the advertisements appeared on July 10 they had already been overtaken by events. They referred to a meeting on July 9, but that had broken up without any progress the day before the papers came out.

Critics have been quick to point out that not only is the WICB reportedly short of funds, despite receiving tens of millions of dollars from the 2007 World Cup, it also has a press department whose job should be to ensure its position is made quite clear.

The only other time recently that a board has spent money in this way in a bid to win over the public came last year when Zimbabwe Cricket took out advertisements to counter a critical newspaper report.

The contractual row has led to a makeshift side, largely from Barbados, taking the field in the Test against Bangladesh at Arnos Grove. While it is widely reported that 13 first-team players had turned down invitations to play, sources close to WIPA maintain that more than twice that number were approached and refused to take part.

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