West Indies faces yet another crack in contracts

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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ST John'S, Antigua:West Indies cricket, dogged by problems on and off the field, is facing another split as another contracts feud returns to haunt the game.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said Wednesday that they have given players a deadline to sign retainer deals or face being axed from the squad.

"The WICB made a proposal to the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) on January 12 on the issue of retainer contracts for West Indies players," said a WICB cricket committee statement.

"It was a good offer, fully competitive with other full member countries of the world. After some three months, we have been unable to conclude an agreement in spite of an increase on our original proposal of five percent.

"We have been at a loss to understand the reasons for this matter being dragged out as long as it has, until today. Information has now reached us that discussions are taking place between certain players and interests in direct competition with our major sponsor.

"We continue to hope that this information is incorrect. Nonetheless, time has run out on us and we can no longer permit this situation to be dragged out interminably.

"We shall therefore recommend to the WICB Board of Directors that a firm cut off point be established as Friday April 21 for the retainer contracts to be settled.

"Thereafter the team shall be selected based on those players who make themselves available."

The impasse comes just a year after seven leading players, including former skipper and record-breaking batsman Brian Lara, were dropped from the Test squad in a row over personal contracts.

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