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WICB, players at war over T20 pay

…Board says no to talks with Sammy’s 15
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Darren Sammy...wants to negotiate on behalf of 15 members of the T20 squad.

West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy has written to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) expressing concern over salaries and fees for the players for the T20 World Cup which starts next month in India.

In his communication, Sammy said he was representing all 15 players who were selected for the tournament and wanted the opportunity to fairly negotiate the financial terms of their contract. 

Sammy said the players had collectively discussed the remuneration and considering that 14 out of the 15-man squad were not part of WIPA, and therefore did not give authorisation to WIPA to negotiate on their behalf, they wanted the opportunity to negotiate their own terms. 

In an immediate response, Michael Muirhead, CEO of the WICB rejected Sammy’s call for negotiations. Muirhead pointed out that WIPA was the recognised collective bargaining representative of West Indies cricketers and therefore negotiates the remuneration between WICB and each West Indian player, whether such player is or is not a member of WIPA. 

“In recognition of the MOU between WICB and WIPA, the WICB will not engage in negotiations on the terms of compensation under the contract with any player or group of players, without the involvement or endorsement of WIPA.” 

Sammy dismissed this saying that his group of players does not accept that WIPA can represent them. “WIPA became conflicted during its negotiations with you and compromised itself. It could not and did not actively represent the best interests of all West Indies cricketers and is a major reason we are having this discussion.”

Sammy described as shocking the difference between the remuneration being offered between previous World Cups and the up coming tournament. 

“We cannot accept the terms on offer,” he said.

He noted that in the 2012 T20 World Cup, the lowest paid player was guaranteed US $57,937, while the highest was guaranteed US $137,045. He said figures were higher in 2014 and players were remunerated based on their experience as well.

“To now be offered just US$6,900 per match across the board, irrespective of experience, is totally unacceptable. Players are being asked to start providing services from nearly four weeks ahead of the World Cup and be guaranteed just US$27,600 if they play all guaranteed matches. This is a staggering reduction. We are looking even on 2012 figures at reductions of between 50-80 per cent. What happens if you do not make the playing XI? If the team plays official matches ahead of the tournament they should be remunerated as well,” said Sammy.

He noted that the WICB had removed the 25 per cent share from ICC which was guaranteed to the squad. 

“We suggest that 100 per cent of prize money needs to be paid to the players as per previous tournaments. Twenty per cent should not be retained by the WICB. It is the players performing for the prize.” 

Sammy called on the WICB to say what sponsorship income was being generated? “We are being offered a percentage of what exactly?” 

He questioned whether the WICB had locked in a sponsor? “With the tournament happening in India, we would expect that our squad has something of significant value to offer, or is the sponsorship zero? We also suggest that the match fees be doubled from US$6,900,” suggested Sammy.

Sammy also asked about payments being made to the WICB for the tournament. “Obviously we are not privy to exact numbers paid to the WICB from the ICC, but we understand US$8m will be paid. Traditionally, 25 per cent has been paid to the squad. That would equate to US$2m, which divided by 15 is US$133,000 per player. Worse case scenario, the squad would earn $414,000 collectively under the terms of the contract offered by WICB. That is just over five per cent—a near 80 per cent reduction.

Sammy also noted: “We want to represent the West Indies but the financials on offer we can't accept.”

Muirhead also disagreed with Sammy’s figures. “We are not sure where you obtained this information (US$8 million to WICB), but assure you it is totally incorrect. As a result of the ICC revamp which was agreed on February 8, 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. 

“It is therefore not possible to identify a particular sum which will be paid to the WICB by the ICC in respect of the WT20 2016. In fact, it was postulated that India accounted for at least 80 per cent of the global cricket viewership and as such are entitled to the lion’s share of the cumulative ICC revenues.”

Muirhead said while it was true that WICB previously calculated compensation to the ICC event squad members as a percentage of the ICC distribution received in relation to the particular event, it was not possible to calculate a percentage to be paid to the squad, as the ICC distribution was no longer being made in the traditional manner. 

Muirhead said: “The WICB, in recognition of this, and in an effort at fairness and transparency, allocates 25 per cent of WICB revenues estimated over a four year period, including ICC distributions, to players through a guaranteed minimum revenue pool, out of which player payments are made. Anything in excess of this minimum over the relevant four-year cycle, will be divided solely among the international players, as agreed with WIPA.”

WI squad
Darren Sammy (capt), Samuel Badree, Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor.