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PCA push for reduction in 'outdated' compensation payments for counties' IPL players

England players without central contracts have to reimburse their counties for missing games

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
24-Aug-2021
Chris Jordan and Liam Livingstone are among England's IPL players without central contracts  •  Getty Images

Chris Jordan and Liam Livingstone are among England's IPL players without central contracts  •  Getty Images

The Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) are pushing for a change in the "outdated" system which sees English players without central contracts pay a significant proportion of their annual salary back to their counties when they miss games due to involvement in the IPL.
Players without central contracts are required to pay 1% of their annual salary back to their counties for the first 21 days that they miss due to IPL involvement and a further 0.7% for subsequent days. With most of those affected earning top-end county salaries, the system has led to payments of more than £50,000 from those playing the full IPL season to their counties.
"There was a formula put in place back in 2010 of deductions from county salaries for those taking part in the IPL," Daryl Mitchell, the PCA's director of cricket operations and the chair of its newly formed advocacy group, told ESPNcricinfo. "We've had requests from members about it and we feel as though it needs updating, and that there need to be conversations around what that formula looks like.
"I think everyone would agree that the cricketing world has changed substantially since 2010 and clearly England's stance with regards to player playing in the IPL has changed. In 2010, it was almost a preventative measure to try and discourage as many players as possible from going to the IPL; now, the ECB are encouraging English players to go and experience that tournament because of the benefits gained from playing in it."
Four players without central contracts - Sam Billings (Kent/Delhi Capitals), Chris Jordan (Sussex/Punjab Kings), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire/Rajasthan Royals) and Dawid Malan (Yorkshire/Punjab Kings) - were affected earlier this year before the IPL's mid-season postponement, while Tom Banton and Harry Gurney have been in a similar position in recent seasons. Jordan and Malan are on incremental deals with the ECB, who top up their county salaries, but neither holds a full white-ball contract.
Players are understood to be in discussions with counties around their availability for the second half of the IPL, which restarts on September 19 in Dubai, and a handful of English players have been discussed as replacements for the overseas signings that have withdrawn. George Garton, for example, is expected to be confirmed as Royal Challengers Bangalore's replacement for Daniel Sams in the coming days.
With players also required to reimburse their counties on a pro rata basis for their involvement in the Hundred - a process which is managed centrally - those involved in the IPL as well can end up paying significantly more than half of their annual salary back to their counties.
"It's a significant chunk and in our view, it's too high," Mitchell said. "We absolutely believe that the counties need compensating and we're not getting away from the fact that players are spending time away - there does need to be some compensation when counties are missing their players for that window. We're just saying that it needs to be reviewed and looked at - it's outdated and needs changing.
"The risk is that if we don't have these conversations, and there's not a formula endorsed by both the counties and the PCA, then it becomes a little bit like the wild west and you have players trying to negotiate this stuff out of contract, or signing white-ball contracts and going pay-as-you-play for red-ball cricket because they might be better off that way."
The PCA are also pushing back against the informal cut-off date for players without central contracts to sign as replacements, which saw Reece Topley denied the opportunity to play for Chennai Super Kings this year after Surrey told him they would not give him a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) and let him miss the start of the County Championship season.
"That is an unwritten agreement between the counties and it's certainly a restriction that we wouldn't support because there's a risk of souring relationships between clubs and players," Mitchell said. "I think a draconian end date probably isn't the right way forward - it should be a sensible conversation between the player and their club."
Any change would be made by the counties rather than the ECB, who facilitate rather than make decisions on IPL-related issues for players without central contracts. The topic was one of several discussed at the first meeting of the PCA's new advocacy group, which comprises a dozen current and former pros from the men's and women's game and is intended to gather views from a wide cross-section of members and, in the long term, become "a leading voice within the game".

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98