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West Indies players given ultimatum to accept contract terms

West Indies players given ultimatum to accept contract terms
Payment disputes have always been an integral part of the West Indies cricket.
©REUTERS / Action Images

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has given the West Indies players time until 14th February to accept the terms of their contracts after a fresh issue over payments surfaced earlier this week.

West Indies Twenty20 International captain Darren Sammy wrote to the WICB earlier this week stating the board's offer of remuneration for the World T20 tournament was unacceptable for the players.

Sammy also wrote that since 14 players out of the 15-man squad were not a part of the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA), they did not authorise the association to negotiate the terms of payments.

In reply, the chief executive officer of the WICB, Michael Muirhead replied to Sammy stating that the board only recognises WIPA as the "recognised collective bargaining representative of West Indies cricketers”.

Muirhead further added that the WICB will not be able to extend the deadline for the players to submit the signed contracts for the World T20 tournament.

“We are unable to move the deadline of 2pm ECT on 14 February 2016 for receipt of the signed player contracts for the WT20 2016.”

On Wednesday ESPNcricinfo published a second letter written by Sammy wherein he states that the players are unable to accept the offers of the WICB with such vast differences in payment from the previous ICC tournaments. 

Revealing that players were guaranteed payments between $57,937 and $137,045 for the 2012 World T20, Sammy refused to accept the board’s offer of $6,900 per match for the 2016 World T20.

“For instance, in the 2012 T20 World Cup the lowest paid player was guaranteed US$57,937.

“The highest was guaranteed US$137,045.

“Figures were higher in 2014.

“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 the guaranteed matches (which) is a staggering reduction.

“We are looking, even on 2012 figures, (at) reductions of between 50-80%.

“In summary, we cannot accept the terms on offer.

“The players are not happy and understandably so with such big differences.

“The previous structure worked and players were happy and understood it.” 

In reply, Muirhead questioned Sammy’s decision to raise the issue of payments so close to the World T20 when the terms were discussed and disclosed to the players in May 2015.

“Kindly note that the terms on offer were negotiated and agreed between WICB and WIPA with the assistance of representatives from the ICC and FICA during a mediation process last year, and all parties agreed that they were fair and equitable and acceptable to be offered to the members WI team selected for the relevant ICC Event,” wrote Muirhead in reply to Sammy.

“As mentioned in my previous email to you, this information was shared with all players following that process in May last year.

“Players were given an opportunity to discuss the new structure and no concerns were raised at that time.

“It is disappointing that you would choose to question the terms now, on the eve of the WT20 in India.” 

On Hitz 92fm, Muirhead went on to affirm that the WICB will be left with no other choice than replace the players who do not sign the contracts by the deadline issued by the board.

“The WICB is committed to play in the tournament, let me say that first.

“No one will leave the shores of the West Indies without signing a contract and if these players in particular choose not to sign, then I guess we’ll be left with no option but to substitute other players for them.

"They have had lots of time to digest and argue and do everything.

“Five of the players were instrumental and were there at the onset, so at this point, I'm hoping that the players will sign and take advantage of the other benefits that are there.”

The West Indies team abandoned a bilateral series against India midway in October 2014 over a similar dispute concerning payments.

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