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T&T cricketers very lucky but foolish
Sport in T&T is in utter turmoil. Just a cursory glance at football reveals the extent of the chaos which today permeates sport in this wonderful nation. This was an Olympic year and what an Olympics it was for our athletes as they had the best success ever by a T&T team at the world’s biggest sporting event.
Would you believe that the National Association of Athletics Administration did not get one red cent from the Government in 2012? Our football team made it to the World Cup in 2006 but in 2012 cannot even compete in a regional tournament, an event which we have won more times than any other Caribbean country. Basketball has a $1m budget but can only get 20 per cent funding whilst many other associations are existing only on paper.
Do you know that this year Njisane Phillips was sleeping in airports between cycling meets as he prepared for the Olympics? He had no money but came very close to medalling. Keshorn Walcott had no javelin but won gold.
Our track athletes are unemployed and have no source of funding, contracts etc, but would only get appearance fees when they compete, yet they compete giving their very best. National Sports Organisations (NSOs) are being stretched to find funding to conduct basic training and development programmes or to run competitions let alone put infrastructure in place for their respective disciplines.
Let us compare this with what our cricketers earn. From September 2011 to May 2012 the average T&T cricketer earned at least $250,000. Cricketers get US$1,300 for a regional four-day match, US$500 for a T20 and US$700 for a 50/50, and this is at regional level only.
Added to this the TTCB pays each player a travelling allowance for each session he attends, provides a meal and other refreshments per session, pays his cricket related medical bills, pays a strength and conditioning trainer to aid his fitness and employs a physiotherapist to treat his injuries and help hasten recovery so that he can maximise his playing time and therefore the opportunities to earn more.
The TTCB has employed a fulltime head coach and an assistant coach to prepare the players and employs a ground staff all year round to ensure that pitches and playing fields are always available for use when the players require.
In addition, there is a video analyst attached to the team. No other team in the region except for the WI teams has such a technical team attached. Credit to the technical staff because for the past two major T20 tournaments (2011 CL and Ct20) the team always had a full complement to choose from.
And guess what, in addition to all this the TTCB gives its share of the prize money won to the players. The TTCB’s staff go beyond the call to assist players with matters of a personal nature whenever the need arises. But can you believe that the players are reluctant to give even half a share of prize money to the technical staff?
The TTCB is ensuring that its teams and players have the best possible chance of success and thereby seize every opportunity to earn, like Pollard, Narine and Dwayne Bravo to name a few. And to think that they have the gall to strike for a share of the transfer fees the TTCB would receive from the three players choosing to play for their IPL team!
If the players had got their obscene request fulfilled by the Board, each would have received a maximum of US$7,000. To note that they were risking a US$20,000 minimum guarantee, a chance to earn in excess of US$250,000 by winning the Champions League, the possibility of the WI teams being kicked out of future CL participation and of earning the chance at a big career defining pay day for a mere US$7,000 is not only thoughtless but plain greedy and misguided.
The TTCB has an annual budget of over $14m. This money is spent mainly on development programmes, competitions (most of which are unsponsored), operations and infrastructure. In addition, more than 25 per cent of this expenditure is on the national senior teams.
The TTCB gets about 20 per cent of its funding from Sportt and another 30-40 per cent from sponsorship. From where does the remaining 35-40 per cent come? The TTCB is creative and innovative in its thinking and has to be in order to survive and ensure that cricket remains healthy.
The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) is the only sporting organisation with its own facilities (administration building, playing field and training facilities). Why then, you may be wondering, would a player strike? Well, you can try answering.
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