Busta puts cork on W.I. cricket
By Naz Yacoob
Guyana Chronicle
October 18, 2002

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PORT of Spain, Trinidad - The 2003 regional cricket season, which is expected to start in January, may well be without a major sponsor.

This is because Busta has ended its relationship with the regional competition, after choosing to not renew its contract with the West Indies Cricket Board.

S.M. Jaleel Limited, makers of Busta soft drink, had sponsored the Busta Cup for the past four years, having committed themselves to this period.

The four-year sponsorship deal with the giant soft drink manufacturer expired earlier this year and because of the huge cost factor, they decided not to renew it.

The decision was confirmed to Chronicle Sports by an official of the company.

S.M. Jaleel took over the regional sponsorship in December 1998, after the WICB had failed to get a sponsor for that season.

The regional competition was sponsored by Shell, for the first 22 years of the championship, and then by Red Stripe Beer.

Busta, during their period of sponsorship, ploughed close to US$893 000 into the development of West Indies cricket.

One of their major initiatives was an incentive scheme which paid out US$42 000 to the top performers during each season.

And, before a ball has been bowled, the lack of sponsorship has already started taking its toll on the tournament.

The Tobago Cricket Association, which has hosted Busta Cup matches in 2001 and 2002, has already been told by the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board of Control that they will not be afforded a match in the sister isle.

A lack of funding was the reason given, according to Tobago Cricket Association interim president Bill Brown.

Tobago had previously played host to the West Indies A team at the Roxborough Sporting Complex in 2001 and Bangladesh A at the Shaw Park Facility earlier this year.

The WICB is expected to make an announcement of the financial future of the tournament shortly.