CEO gets mandate to negotiate with WIPA

Guyana Chronicle
January 23, 2003

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ST JOHNíS, Antigua, (WICB) - Roger Brathwaite, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board, has been given a mandate by the Executive Committee of the WICB to negotiate a settlement with the West Indies Players Association on the issue of sharing the team sponsorship for the Cricket World Cup 2003 in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

A key facet of the Boardís mandate is that the settlement should be fair to the players and on a basis that is consistent with past West Indies practice as well as in keeping with the current financial realities of the WICB.

Brathwaite was expected to meet with WIPA representatives yesterday afternoon in Antigua.

The WICB is also committed to ensuring that there is minimal disruption of the teamís preparation for the Cricket World Cup 2003 and that the tour goes ahead as planned with the players and the WICB fulfilling their obligations to the sponsors, the ICC and the Caribbean fans.

The WICB would also like to make it clear that this dispute is not over the playersí fees for the World Cup since those agreements were in place long ago.

Brathwaite has also apologised to the LNM Group, the Official Sponsors of the West Indies team to the Cricket World Cup 2003, for any embarrassment this incident may have caused them on the first day of their sponsorship.

Brathwaite noted that the WICB greatly appreciates the contribution being made by the LNM Group to West Indies cricket and looks forward to maintaining a long-term relationship between the two organisations.

Michael Hall, the Chief Cricket Operations Officer of the WICB, has also apologised to the media assembled in Antigua -- including two overseas journalists -- who had come especially for the event, but were unable to interview the team.

On Tuesday the squad declined participating in a scheduled media event because they are disgruntled over their take in the team sponsorship for the tournament.

Steel producers LNM Group was named official team sponsor earlier the same day.

Hall read a statement to reporters, who had turned up for the 2.00 p.m. Eastern Caribbean Time media access session with the team, that the session was cancelled.

"The members of the West Indies cricket team declined to take part in today's media access session," Hall said.

"They have expressed dissatisfaction with the WICB's proposal for the sharing of the recently acquired sponsorship for the team to the cricket World Cup 2003.

"You will be aware that this morning the West Indies Cricket Board and the LNM Group through its T&T-based subsidiary ISPAT, signed an agreement to sponsor the team to the World Cup."

Hall, who declined taking questions from the press, added that "the final agreement for the sponsorship was only reached last week".

Hall also said all players had signed the player terms for the tournament, which have been submitted to the International Cricket Council (ICC) ahead of the deadline, and he was "not sure" this development "means anything negative about the team's participation in the World Cup".

The squad is in the middle of a two-week camp, preparing for the World Cup, which they open on February 9 against hosts South Africa.

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