West Indies players might boycott ICC World T20 amid contract crisis
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is on the verge of a player strike on the eve of the World Twenty20 after the 15-man squad appeared collectively to reject the contract offered by the board.
The captain of the West Indies T20 side Darren Sammy has written to the board that the players “can’t accept the huge financial reduction” in the terms compared to previous ICC tournaments which according to him amounts to an 80% cut.
Sammy also stated that 14 of the 15-man squad are not part of the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) and, therefore, had not given the organisation the authority to negotiate on their behalf.
80% reduction in payment
Though Sammy himself did not directly threaten to withdraw the team from the tournament, but it is believed that other squad members have not ruled out the possibility. He made it clear in his letter that the players would not accept the current offer and asked the board to “address this urgently.”
Sammy wrote, "We want to represent the West Indies but the financials on offer we can't accept."
"Obviously, I am not privy to exact numbers paid to the WICB from the ICC, but I understand USD $8m will be paid to the Board.
"Traditionally 25% has been paid to the squad. That would equate to USD $2m / 15 therefore approximately USD $133,000 per player.
"Worse case scenario the squad would earn $414,000 collectively under the terms of the contract offered by WICB to participate in the T20 World Cup 2016. That is just over 5%. A staggering difference, a near 80% reduction.
"Please, can you address this urgently. The T20 World Cup is just a matter of weeks away."
WICB CEO dismisses the claims
But Michael Muirhead, the CEO of the WICB has quickly dismissed Sammy’s argument and insisted that the sums mentioned in Sammy’s statement were “totally incorrect.” Muirhead stated in connection with the $8m figure and said, "We are not sure where you obtained this information, but assure you it is totally incorrect.”
"As a result of the ICC revamp, which was agreed on 8 February 2014, the ICC has changed the manner in which distributions to Full Members in relation to ICC events are paid - starting from the ICC WT20 2016.
“These payments are now spread out and distributed over an eight-year cycle, rather than being paid out in a lump sum and attributed to any one event.
"The remuneration to the players for the WT20 comprises an agreed match fee of three times the usual fee, plus 50% of the net proceeds of any sponsorship for the event, and 80% of any prize money earned by the team.
“Note that for this tournament, the prize money has increased substantially from the previous WT20, moving from a gross total of US$3million to US$5.6million, of which the winner will receive US$1.6million."
The WICB chief signed off his reply by making it clear that the WICB was not prepared to compromise at any cost. It was under Darren Sammy that West Indies won the ICC World T20 in 2012. They are currently at No.2 in the T20 rankings.