Zimbabwe players demand salary guarantee
The Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association (ZPCA) has asked that the board set aside 25% of its revenue from participating in the World Twenty20 to guarantee the players' salaries over the next 12 months. The players have also rejected Zimbabwe Cricket's offer of arbitration on the issue.
While the cricketers have not gone on strike again, they issued a demand that the problem of payments be resolved quickly and requested a discussion with ZC in Bulawayo on Monday.
Both ZC and ZPCA agreed the money earned by board from the World T20 and will amount to US$8.9 million, of which the players demanded US$2.225 million for salaries over the next year. The ZPCA said it was "shocking and highly unacceptable that ZC has been failing to pay players and staff when they have been getting such huge amounts from ICC".
ZC's offer was that each player participating in the World Twenty20 would receive US $11,500 and could earn bonuses of US $2700 per player if they won matches in the second round. The board made no mention of future payments but recommended a memorandum of understanding by end of May, when ZC would be negotiate with players for next season's contracts.
The players rejected the board's offer of arbitration because they felt "ZC still has an obligation to convince us that they are still capable of being the custodians of the game of cricket in Zimbabwe and players salaries in particular". ZC had offered three arbitrators, including former board president Alwyn Pichanick and former managing director Don Arnott, but the players said they "were not privy to how they chose these arbitrators and we questioned their impartiality".
They insisted on following internal procedures first and would only go to arbitration if a judicial commission appoints the arbitrators. The players made their statement only after ZC had issued one in which it said the ZPCA had reneged on a previous agreement to go to arbitration if meetings between the two bodies were deadlocked.
"ZPCA is not engaged in any industrial action. Franchise games are underway country wide and the national team is in camp in preparation," the ZPCA said in a statement. "ZPCA advised ZC that this matter must be attended to as early as possible and accorded the seriousness it deserves, otherwise we will not participate in any ZC organised event."
ZC said it may have a claim on the players should a boycott be reinstated. The board's statement said: "Zimbabwe's participation at the ICC WT20 tournament was in terms of the current contracts between the ZC and the players and, that with ZC having paid the players all that it owed them, if their action led to ZC breaching its obligation with the ICC to play in the tournament, the players would be liable for the breach and ZC would claim from them any damages occasioned by their conduct."
The situation is presently deadlocked because ZC wanted to hold Monday's meeting in Harare, where they say all their documents are. The ZPCA wanted the discussions to take place in Bulawayo and asked ZC to courier their documents to the city.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent