Windies players sign contracts
- to get US$175,000 windfall By Tony Cozier in DISCOVERY BAY
Stabroek News
August 30, 2002

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WEST INDIES players will get an additional sum of at least US$175,000 from from next month's International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions' Trophy in Sri Lanka.

The windfall represents 25 per cent of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) dividends of US $700,000, along with prize money.

The deal was agreed after several days of what were reportedly tough negotiations between the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), led by recently elected president Dinanath Ramnarine, and the WICB over a contentious ICC contract on sponsorship for all ICC events until 2007, including the Champions Trophy and next year's World Cup in South Africa.

The WICB announced in a media statement yesterday that the 14 players had signed their contracts "subject to the ICC formally agreeing to consult with players before concluding commercial agreements for ICC events other than those that have already been sold".

On the decision to apportion a quarter of its Champions Trophy cut to the players, the WICB noted: "Appreciative of the heavy commercial restrictions placed on the players, President Rev. Wes Hall succesfully sought the approval of the WICB Board to offer the players 25 per cent of the dividends that will be obtained by the WICB in respect to the 2002 Champions Trophy only."

It is understood that the WIPA's claims for as much as US$2 million of the WICB's guarantee of US$6.5 million from next year's World Cup along with substantial and immediate increases in fees were rejected.

The West Indies players joined those of India, Australia, England and South Africa in baulking at the ICC insistence that they sign contracts committing them to the use of their images by the ICC and preventing them from promoting individual sponsors who conflict with its own designated tournament sponsors.

All with the exception of the Indians have now agreed to sign on the assumption that the ICC will agree to review the contract after the Dubai meeting.

WICB chief executive Gregory Shillingford said ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed had indicated the ICC is expected to ratify the agreement "on the consulatative process with the players" at a meeting today in Dubai.

It means the originally chosen 14 for the September 12-30 tournament will go to Sri Lanka, subject to injuries.

There is concern over Vincentian fast bowler Cameron Cuffy who underwent a knee operation just over a month ago. He missed St.Vincent's first two matches in the current Red Stripe Bowl in Jamaica and knowledgeable observers reported he seemed below full fitness in the remaining two. "Over the past few days, the WICB and WIPA have been in wide ranging discussions over issues concerning the players' rights over use of their images and how this could be balanced against the interest of the ICC's commercial partner who sponsor these world events," Shillingford added in the WICB statement.

Apart from Shillingford, the WICB was represented at a five hour meeting in Kingston Tuesday by Hall, financial controller Barry Thomas, Windies World Cup 2007 chief executive Chris Dehring, legal advisor Milton Samuda and directors Jackie Hendriks and Wycliffe Cameron.

On the other side were WIPA president Ramnarine and secretary Reon King, who were both elected last May in a change of leadership, and the 14 members for the Champions Trophy squad.

"The WIPA and the players were determined that player's rights should not be sold by the ICC without consultation and financial benefit to the players and that his association will continue to address this issue at all levels of world cricket," the WICB release quoted Ramnarine as saying.

It said he "recognised the players' interest in the future of West Indies and world cricket".

Hall noted that the WICB has agreed that "there must be a consultative process between the ICC and the players.

He said it would continue to make representation at ICC executive board Meetings "to have the concerns of the WICB on financial, operational and player rights issues resolved to the benefit of all concerned".