A leak of the much-awaited report by Justice Anthony Lucky on the West Indies Cricket Board's handling of the Digicel contract negotiations said that the deal could be declared null and void.
The report was delivered to Ken Gordon, the board's president, ten days ago, and it was not expected that it would be made public. However, the first signs of leakage came with a report on the influential caribbeancricket.com website which carried extracts of Lucky's findings.
Aside from criticism of the way the board approached the negotiations with Digicel and also the way it dealt with Cable & Wireless, the existing sponsor at the time, the most damning finding was that the contract could be voided.
"The WICB/Digicel sponsorship agreement was never ratified and in these circumstances I am of the view that the contract can be declared null and void," Lucky wrote. "I have to add that I have sought and obtained legal opinion to this effect.
"In summary, therefore, the sponsorship agreement with Digicel, together with the commission agreements referred to above, cannot be in the best interest of West Indian cricket, because, firstly, the negotiations were secret; secondly, only a few members knew and the board members were excluded. In fact, board members never, according to the records we have seen, asked any questions relating to the agreement itself and, further, never questioned why matters were not reverted to the board.
"The negotiations that resulted in the finalisation of the agreement were conducted in secret under a guise of confidentiality." He added that the board did all it could to disguise the identity of Digicel, thereby breaching its own contract with Cable & Wireless which required openness in all negotiations.
Lucky went on to detail the events which led to Digicel being awarded the contract, stating that "there was a breach of the terms of the memorandum and articles of association of the WICB," with regards to the way the process was minuted and recorded.
The end result of this secrecy, Lucky concluded, was that the players and the West Indies Players' Association were unable to negotiate with the board because they were unable to find out the exact terms of the contract.