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Ireland could play men's T20 World Cup on expired contracts

The board and the players association are still in negotiations

Ben White celebrates a wicket, Ireland vs India, 2nd T20I, Malahide, Dublin, August 20, 2023

Ireland begin their T20 World Cup campaign on June 5 against India  •  Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ireland's men could play next month's T20 World Cup on expired central contracts as Cricket Ireland (CI) and the Irish Cricketers' Association (ICA) continue to work out the details of their first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will underpin players' deals.
CI announced their central contracts for 2023-24 last March, with 14 men's players in the final year of a two-year contract and seven others signing one-year deals. Those contracts expired at the end of February but players have effectively been playing under the terms of those deals since, which have rolled over indefinitely until negotiations for 2024-25 are complete.
The Irish Times reported on Thursday - the day before Ireland men's T20I series against Pakistan - that male players rejected CI's most recent contract offer last week, while centrally-contracted female players delayed their decision until after the recently-concluded T20 World Cup Qualifiers.
Ireland's men have a packed calendar over the next two weeks, playing seven T20Is between May 10-24 against Pakistan, Netherlands and Scotland. They will then fly to the United States for the T20 World Cup where they face India, Pakistan, USA and Canada in Group A, and their busy schedule is not conducive to contract negotiations.
A spokesperson for CI declined to comment while negotiations were ongoing and the ICA did not respond when contacted by ESPNcricinfo. It is understood that players are seeking pay rises and that these will be back-dated to March if approved and when contracts are eventually signed.
Paul Stirling, Ireland's captain, told national broadcaster RTÉ Sport: "The ICA is working for us as a players' group, and we hear from them. I haven't felt the frustration, but it's possibly there.
"I think the thing I'm really proud of over the last weeks and months is that we have been able to put that stuff behind us. That could be a distraction, but it's only a distraction if you make it one. I'm really proud of how the lads have gone in the last few months. I think they've made good strides."
CI belatedly announced their men's and women's home fixtures for 2024 last week, following a long delay which owed to the late sign-off of their budget. Funding and logistical issues have caused the cancellation of an incoming men's tour by Australia and a men's white-ball series against Zimbabwe, while their men's 'home' series against South Africa will be staged in Abu Dhabi.