Wes Hall has described the West Indies Players' Association's (WIPA) assertion that regional players would be withdrawing their services from this weekend's Carib Beer International Challenge as an embarrassment to sponsors.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president's comments came in the aftermath of conflicting stories from WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine and representatives of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago ahead of their semifinal clash at Kensington Oval today.
"Neither association has informed the WICB that their team will not be playing in the semifinal and final, but Mr Ramnarine has," Hall told WEEKENDSPORT late last night.
"This is the second time in two months our sponsors have been embarrassed and the third consecutive tournament that WIPA has attempted to hold the board to ransom with last-minute ambush negotiations."
The dispute between the WICB and WIPA stems from a few issues, including an increase in fees in regional first-class competitions and compensation for international players who sustain injuries on tours.
"There are three ways to make money in cricket - sponsorship, gate receipts and domestic television rights," Hall said.
"They [WIPA] are doing a great job in discouraging sponsors."
On the area of gate receipts, Hall pointed to the fact that the opening day of the top-of-the-table Cup match between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago attracted a small turnout on February 28 - the day before the Sandy Lane Gold Cup.
He also disclosed that the WICB does not get a cent from domestic television rights, whereas in countries like England, the cricket body gets £50 million from stations like Sky and Channel 4 for domestic television rights.
"Even with prudent management, it is an ongoing challenge to survive," Hall said.
"The time has come when the board must insist on fair negotiation procedures and the players must decide who play for their territories and the West Indies."
While the Barbados Cricket Association and Trinidad and Tobago team management said as far as they knew the match would go ahead as planned, Ramnarine was strong in his view the players would be taking industrial action.
"We have been very honest and up front with the WICB. If things are not being resolved and they do not want to move from their position ... we have reached to this point where we have decided the best thing to do is not to play," Ramnarine said.
"We are very disappointed it has reached this far. We came to this meeting and we have been to all the meetings for this matter to be resolved in a fair way. It is a bit unfortunate for West Indies cricket that this has taken place."
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