West Indies settle player contracts dispute

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Port of Spain:West Indies have become the last international side to institute a retainer contract system for its players.

Ken Gordon, president of the West Indies Cricket Board, announced on Wednesday at his office here that the regional governing body and the West Indies Players' Association had finally hammered out an agreement.

"The people involved in the negotiation all had one common objective when they sat down to discuss the matter," Gordon said.

"They all wanted to take West Indies out of the situation in which it now stands and take it forward. I think zeroing in on this, they were able to find the solutions and ways around whatever difficulties they had."

The WICB's negotiation team comprised directors Deryck Murray and Desmond Haynes, two former West Indies vice-captains and members of the Cricket Committee, as well as Chief Financial Officer Barry Thomas.

Under new chairman Clive Lloyd, the former West Indies captain, the reconstituted Cricket Committee has been playing the leading role in the latest round of negotiations.

"This is the culmination of years of hard work from a number of people," Murray said.

"I think this is the beginning of the resurgence of West Indies cricket and follows some changes in the structures of the board. We are looking to focus on making cricket more of a priority and we are looking forward to a brighter future."

WIPA executive president Dinanath Ramnarine, the former West Indies leg-spin bowler, headed the team negotiating for the players and was satisfied that all concerns had been addressed.

He noted that a ruling handed down earlier this year by the ICC and the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations cleared up misconceptions about the treatment of the players' and, indeed, the board's image and intellectual property rights and brought the parties closer together.

"The ICC and FICA came up with the text by which we had to be guided and both sides needed to give their lawyers time to study it," he said.

"We then tried to analyse the ICC-FICA ruling and try to place a dollar value on it, and once this issue was resolved and both parties were willing to compromise, we were able to come to an agreement that was satisfactory to both sides."

The WICB announced on Sunday that it would meet with the WIPA on Tuesday in an attempt to complete retainer contract negotiations, after a meeting between Murray and Ramnarine last Friday brought a stalemate.

The regional governing body is looking to offer between eight and one-dozen contracts, and players will have until May 3 to sign their contracts for the first term of one year that runs from May 1 this year until the end of the 2007 ICC World Cup in the West Indies.

Match/tour contracts, separate from the retainer contracts, have been offered to the squad of 14 players that have been named for the first two limited-overs internationals in the seven-match series against Zimbabwe that opens on Saturday and Sunday in Antigua.

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