West Indies face another contract dispute

Published: Thursday, June 15, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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St Lucia:West Indian cricket faces another potentially damaging dispute after it was revealed that its Test players have not been given contracts for the current series against India.

It is just two months since Brian Lara and his team-mates settled a row with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) over their retainer contracts.

But now the issue threatens to erupt again after Dinanath Ramnarine, president of the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA), sent a letter to WICB President Ken Gordon to convey "deep disappointment and concern" that players currently contesting the four-Test series against India have yet to be issued with the relevant contracts.

Ramnarine said this followed several public assurances from Gordon and frequent reminders and enquiries from the WIPA.

He said: "This is the first time in my experience as president of WIPA that a situation has arisen where players have been engaged in a series without contracts.

"Our members have thereby exposed themselves and their careers to jeopardy, playing as they are without settled terms, with no formal agreement on remuneration and other conditions, and with no assurances over what is to happen, for example, in the event of injury or worse."

Ramnarine added the WICB had failed to honour a commitment to provide contracts for players involved in the current series and the those on the Zimbabwe tour.

"Alarmingly, it has also failed to provide any explanation for this situation," he said.

"It has, however, deluded the public and the cricketing world into thinking that a new dispensation had been put in place.

"The players, for their part, have performed all their obligations, including those to the board's sponsor, as if a contract were in place."

Ramnarine admitted that the players were "disquieted and have reason to feel deluded and used."

"We are concerned that despite all the media hype, the WICB continues on its merry dilatory way, taking the players for granted, putting them in untenable situations, and all the while, holding them to the highest expectations of performance."

In April, the West Indies became the final Test-playing nation to agree to the terms and conditions of a retainer contract for players, following 18 months of a widely-publicised dispute between the WICB and WIPA.

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