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News

Players wear out their welcome with NZC

Rob Nichol, leading spokesman for the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association (NZCPA), opened a press conference in Auckland today with the genial promise that, given the right support from New Zealand Cricket, all the NZCPA members would return to

Don Cameron
05-Nov-2002
Rob Nichol, leading spokesman for the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association (NZCPA), opened a press conference in Auckland today with the genial promise that, given the right support from New Zealand Cricket, all the NZCPA members would return to playing action within a fortnight.
The players' association would also invite NZC to address players directly on the issues under negotiation.
However, this amiable tone at the start of the conference soon gave way to bitter criticism of the way NZC had conducted earlier negotiations since the players' association called a month-long strike during October from Nichol and his colleagues Heath Mills, one of the players' association founders, and Dion Nash, the former New Zealand player.
In his opening statement Nichol rejected the NZC final payment offer made last week and which ran until 4pm today. This NZC offer included a further increase in player payments but if the players' association did not accept the new offer NZC would break off the negotiations and approach the players individually.
Nichol said the decision not to accept the final NZC offer was guided by advice from its accountants and lawyers. The accountants said the NZCPA needed further financial forecasts from NZC before it could agree with future payment plans for the players. The lawyers said the NZC settlement offer contained uncertain terms, with unknown consequences.
The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), containing several players' associations from overseas countries, also advised the New Zealanders not to sign the current player terms on the same basis.
As the press conference proceeded, the NZCPA criticism of NZC and its negotiation methods drew strong criticism from the three players' spokesmen.
Nichol claimed that NZC released details of the negotiations and its payment offers in an attempt to sway public opinion against the players' plans. Nichol did not agree that the players' association had opened up the issue to the public, and that NZC was merely giving its side of the argument in reply.
Nichol also claimed that two NZC offers had been made public before he had received them. NZC had, said Nichol, released information in an attempt to shore up public opinion against the players, and to attempt to break the players' unity.
The players had remained unified, said Nichol, and not long before the press conference two players had been contacted with offers by NZC. Neither player had accepted the offers, said Nichol. Later Martin Snedden, the NZC chief executive, denied that the national body had approached any players.
Nichol chose not to name the players. Rather than cause friction Nichol said the players' association had tried to play a part in forming a controlled environment for future negotations, and these could only be conducted round a conference table.
A later question revealed that the players' association contained 128 members, who paid an annual subscription of $100, starting in June of last year. It appeared that of the three representatives at the press conference today Nash and Mills were working in an honorary capacity.