WICB asks players to sign contract or face axe

Published: Friday, April 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Antigua:The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has warned the players to either accept the retainer contracts offered by it by today or face the prospect of being axed from the team for the Test series against Zimbabwe.

''The WICB made a proposal to the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) on January 12 on the issue of retainer contracts for players. It was a good offer, fully competitive with other Full Member countries of the world,'' the WICB said in a statement.

''We have been at a loss to understand the reasons for this matter being dragged out as long as it has, until today,'' the statement added.

The WICB and the WIPA have been at loggerheads over the new contracts offered by the board on the issue of pay hike despite WICB saying that they have raised the money initially offered to the players.

''After some three months, we have been unable to conclude an agreement in spite of an increase on our original proposal of 5 per cent,'' the WICB said.

''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,'' the board added, referring to the sponsorship row between the board and the players who created a furore some time back.

''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.'' The statement said those who would not agree to the contract would not be accepted for the Zimbabwe series.

''The team shall be selected based on those players who make themselves available,'' it warned.

Meanwhile, WIPA President Dinanath Ramnarine remained defiant saying that the players would not sign the contracts and refused to bow to the pressure put by the board.

''We are not going to be pressured by anybody into signing a retainer contract because we are the only team that does not have a retainer contract,'' he told the Trinidad and Tobago Express.

''We will sign the retainer contract once we believe that it is a fair and reasonable contract and it is in the best interest of the player,'' he added.

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