Michael Hall, chief executive officer (CEO) of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), said yesterday that his body was not to be blamed for the delay in issuing retainer contracts to players since the WICB did not provide assurances to WIPA regarding the terms and conditions of the contracts.
WICB president Dr Julien Hunte claimed at a news conference on Monday in Barbados that WIPA had asked the WICB not to make any announcement and not to issue the contracts. Hunte maintained that he "honestly" did not know why, and WIPA did not give a reason.
Hall said the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between WIPA and the WICB required the board to provide certain assurances to WIPA on behalf of the players to whom retainer contracts were offered.“This must be done before October 1 each year when the contracts are supposed to take effect.”
Hall explained that the agreement mandates a process of transparency which protects the players. He said that before players are issued contracts for the 2012–2013 period which starts on October 1, 2012 and ends on September 30, 2013, the WICB had to discuss the contracts with WIPA especially in terms of whether the procedures (which triggered disputes in the Simmons, Sarwan and Deonarine matters) were adhered to or were respected by the WICB.
WIPA’s position, revealed in letters and e-mails to the WICB, was that the former CEO of the WICB Ernest Hilaire had sought to ignore the legal requirement of taking the initial step of discussing the retainer contracts with WIPA.
“We then drew it to the board’s attention and when the WICB persisted in trying to bypass WIPA, we sent a legal letter which made it clear that the WICB had to deal with us or face legal action.”
We also tried desperately to set up a face-to-face meeting with the WICB on this issue.
As proof of WIPA’s attempts to deal with the retainer contracts quickly, Hall released the attached e-mail sent to the Ag CEO of WICB, Ms Verlyn Faustin, on October 4, 2012 which says in part, “As we have indicated in our previous correspondences, this matter is of grave importance to the players who are to be retained by the WICB. The contract date (October 1st) has passed, and the players will be anxious about their status as well as their payments which fall due under these contracts.”
Hall listed among the issues for discussion whether written appraisals for each player who was retained for the 2011/2012 contract period had been carried out; the player terms and conditions for the 2012/2013 contract period; information regarding WICB major sponsors for the 2012/2013 contract period, including match fees which were last adjusted in 2008/2009; and the proposed use of the players IP and image rights related to any such sponsor agreements and players’ fees which had not increased since 2008/2009.
Commenting on what WIPA would like to see happen in the matter of the contracts, the Jamaican said: “WIPA hopes that the WICB will now review its president's erroneous statement to the media, send the relevant information to WIPA and meet to finalise the contracts which have been due since October 1, 2012, or more than three weeks ago, and that a meeting scheduled for this Thursday in Kingston between the parties can help to bring resolution to the matter.”