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Tim May, chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), has said the Indian Cricket League owes "millions of dollars" in outstanding payments to its players, officials and support staff and warned that the situation, if not resolved, could be damaging to the league.
Essel Sports Private Ltd (ESPL), the ICL's owners, recently served a notice on the ICC and the English and Indian cricket boards, but May has questioned how they intend to do so given their outstanding payments.
"For a number of months, FICA (on behalf of a number of players from numerous countries) has been in discussions with the ICL in relation to outstanding payments to players, officials and support staff, relating as far back to 2008," May said. "These outstanding monies amount to millions of dollars.
"FICA and the players have constantly been informed by ICL, that they will meet these obligations on specified dates. Unfortunately these dates continually pass without any sign of payment to players, officials and support staff"
"The players are sick and tired of the broken commitments from ICL and the evasiveness of various ICL officials and now after exhausting all reasonable efforts to settle the issue amicably, they believe they have no other option than to contemplate legal action against ICL for the recovery of these payments."
The ICL was formed in 2007, a year before the official IPL Twenty20 tournament came into being, but was denied recognition - despite repeated requests and discussions - by the BCCI, other national cricket bodies and the ICC. The league went ahead for two years but finally decided to suspend operations early this year after all its players - around 150 Indian and foreign cricketers - preferred to take up a worldwide amnesty offered by the various official national boards.
The ICL's notice, dated November 16, demanded an injunction against each defendant for implementing the boycott on players associated with the unofficial league and unspecified damages to make up for the loss that ESPL suffered due to the ban after an inquiry. May was skeptical of such claims and raised the matter of the ICL management not meeting previous obligations to players and staff. He warned that even if the ICL won the case, it would have a tough time recruiting players.
"In blunt terms, the players have lost trust in the ICL and the Essel Group," he said. "No player will want to play in a league that has a history of treating players with such little regard. ICL need to re-establish formal communication with the players and settle these outstanding payments as a matter of priority if they are to recover the loss of faith of the player community."
Michael Kasprowicz, one of eight Australians owed millions of dollars by the ICL, rued the circumstances. "It's a shame it's come to this," he told the Australian. "We've constantly been promised payment on certain dates but still nothing has happened."
Jason Gillespie said it had been difficult to share his knowledge in Australia owing to resistance from Cricket Australia and state bodies. "Even a two-week coaching stint with South Australian Country next month has been questioned," he said. "They want me to sign a form renouncing the ICL, but I won't. It's not like I'm banned or anything. I haven't done anything wrong. And it's not like I'm going to make money out of it."