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Going home: West Indies abandons India cricket tour; BCCI takes legal action

In an unprecedented move, the West Indies cricket team has abandoned its tour of India with three Test matches and a One Day International (ODI) and T20 fixture yet to be completed.

It is the first time in the history of cricket, according to ESPN CricInfo, that a series has been abandoned for anything short of war, terrorism or encroaching political violence.

In this case, it was the issue of the players’ image rights and a share of sponsorship money which caused the cancellation of the tour. The West Indies players were incensed that their union, the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), headed by president Wavell Hinds had agreed to concede roughly 65 percent of their earnings to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) allegedly without consulting the players.

Photo: West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Wavell Hinds (right) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron shake hands on the players' CBA/MOU in September. (Courtesy WIPA)
Photo: West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Wavell Hinds (right) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron shake hands on the players’ CBA/MOU in September.
(Courtesy WIPA)

When WICB president Dave Cameron told the players—in a letter published on Wired868 earlier this week—that the regional governing body would not renegotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)/Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that it agreed with WIPA, a reaction was always expected.

It proved to be the most drastic response possible as West Indies’ cricket imploded with the WICB and WIPA seemingly in one corner, the players in the next and a gulf of distrust and disdain between.

BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) secretary Anurag Thakur told PTI that the West Indies players were “hell bent not to play” today’s fourth ODI and only took the field upon his insistence. West Indies lost by 59 runs despite 112 runs from 106 balls from elegant middle-order batsman Marlon Samuels.

Earlier, West Indies ODI captain Dwayne Bravo, accompanied by his teammates, told television commentator Ian Bishop, at the toss that it was “time to make a decision.”

Photo: India cricketer Rohit Sharma (centre) waits on a decision from the third umpire in a previous contest against the West Indies. (Copyright Glyn Kirk/AFP 2014)
Photo: India cricketer Rohit Sharma (centre) waits on a decision from the third umpire in a previous contest against the West Indies.
(Copyright Glyn Kirk/AFP 2014)

In a letter to the WICB President, the West Indies cricketers stated they would return home.

“As a consequence and as a matter of principle, we cannot be party to this grave injustice,” stated Bravo, on behalf of the West Indies team. “The players regretfully wish to advise that they can no longer accept this situation, which has affected each and every player in a very negative way.  The players are under tremendous stress and undue pressure.

“We have informed the Manager and Coach of our decision to return home with the hope that these issues will be addressed to the satisfaction of all.”

The BCCI said it was informed by an email this morning from team manager Richie Richardson, on behalf of the WICB, that West Indies was abandoning the tour.

It is uncertain whether the WICB made any last ditch effort to compromise with its players before the monumental decision was taken.

The BCCI immediately announced five ODIs against Sri Lanka next month to help fill the void. But it was also made clear that cricket’s most powerful nation would seek legal action against the West Indies.

Photo: West Indies cricketers Dwayne Bravo (centre), brother Darren Bravo (left) and Carlton Baugh during a previous tour, (Copyright AFP 2014/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)
Photo: West Indies cricketers Dwayne Bravo (centre), brother Darren Bravo (left) and Carlton Baugh during a previous tour,
(Copyright AFP 2014/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)

“The reason given by WICB is that there were internal issues among their boys,” said BCCI joint secretary Sanjay Patal. “The BCCI will be going to ICC and is planning to sue the WICB and claim for damages. We will not take this lying down as we have cooperated with them in every aspect.”

A BCCI release further accused the WICB of failing to honour its commitment and stated that the withdrawal had “given little thought to the future of the game, the players and the long standing relations between the BCCI and WICB” and had not reflected well on any of the parties involved.

Tony Irish, the executive chairman of international players’ association, FICA, said today represented a dark day for cricket.

“FICA is dismayed that the tour has been called off,” he said. “It’s not good for cricket and it’s not good for player relations within cricket.”

Former West Indies pace bowler and legend Michael Holding, who is now one of the foremost cricket analysts, described the WICB’s decision as ridiculous and embarrassing and he accused the Board of hiding behind half-truths.

He hinted too that Cameron might have made the memorable decision without consulting his fellow WICB directors.

Photo: West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron during a function at WIPA's office in Jamaica. (Courtesy WIPA)
Photo: West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron during a function at WIPA’s office in Jamaica.
(Courtesy WIPA)

“I have never seen anything like this in the past,” Holding told Sky TV. “I can see serious repercussions from this. I think this is a ridiculous decision by the West Indies Cricket Board. They like to hide behind half-truths.

“It’s embarrassing for me, as someone who played for the West Indies, to see this happening. I was told a director of the WICB did not know about this decision. Let us hope the majority of the board made this decision, otherwise it has been made by very dubious means.”

The WICB seemed to add to the confusion with a 23-word release, on its own website, which claimed that it had not cancelled the tour.

“The West Indies Cricket Board advises, that, contrary to media reports, it has taken no decision to discontinue the ongoing tour to India,” stated the WICB.

It is uncertain whether the WICB intends to belatedly save the series, is attempting to shirk responsibility for the cancellation or is trying to head off sanctions from the BCCI. The regional sport body has promised further details later today.

The WICB statement came hours after the India and Sri Lanka boards both confirmed a replacement ODI series.

 

(Below is the full letter emailed by the West Indies cricket team to WICB president Dave Cameron today)

Dear Mr Cameron,

I refer to your letter dated 10th October, which we received earlier today (Oct 16th) via the media. Let me thank you for the courtesy of your response to our letter sent to you on October 10th 2014.

As you would recall in our October 10th letter to you, we stated: “For the record, we wish to reiterate our position put forward to the WICB earlier through WIPA, which is, that we propose the continuation under the old structure until a new agreement is reached between the players and WICB. Neither the WICB nor the players would be disadvantaged by such a mutually agreed arrangement.  We believe this to be a sensible and reasonable option in the interim, while we negotiate new terms and conditions that have been properly ventilated.”

We must express that we are all disheartened and extremely disappointed that our proposal to the WICB has been rejected outright. The players also stated: “as an act of good faith and in the spirit of camaraderie that epitomizes regional cricket, we conceded to go forward with the 1st One-Day Match in India with the expectation that we would resolve the critical matter of all our contractual terms.”

As a further sign of good faith we proceeded to make ourselves available for the 2nd and 3rd ODI. As indicated to all, our decision to play in India was in no way intended to convey an acceptance by the players of the unreasonable terms and conditions put forward to us by WICB nor was it intended as an expression of our acceptance of the purported new Memorandum of Understanding.

We now wish to address some more matters of concern raised in your letter to the players. We note your offer to mediate since in your view this is a matter between WIPA and its members. We wish to state that while you may have been well intended, the offer to mediate on a document that the WICB is a party to cannot be entertained.

Mr. President, what would the WICB say after reviewing the document and the facts surrounding the signing of the document? Would the WICB say that the document is favourable to the WICB and that WIPA should not have signed without a resolution by its members, without consulting with its members and board among all the other things that is reasonably required? We think not!!!

Mr. President, you made several references to the new purported MOU signed by WICB and WIPA. You stated that, “the document is explicit in that the WIPA is the sole and exclusive collective bargaining agent representative recognized by the WICB i.e. all persons contracted by the WICB to play for the West Indies team.”

You further stated, “for the record, we would like to point out to you our view that the new MOU/CBA creates a clear, sustainable, long term compensation structure.”…………….. “The agreement also creates the framework for WICB and WIPA to comprehensively address the use of players’ image rights- so that both the WICB and the players may benefit in relation to such usage.”

Sir, for your information, we have not signed the match/tour contract presented to us by the WICB on the advice of WIPA. Furthermore, we are yet to receive a copy of the new purported MOU. As you know, the issue of player image rights’ has been a bone of contention for over a decade between the WICB and WIPA. It has also been subject to many arbitration rulings and challenged repeatedly by the WICB, such that I am aware that there was a proposed arbitration on this very issue pending.

So WIPA members would have needed to sign off on this area which was in contention yet it appears that it has been addressed in the purported MOU and, very significantly, to the WICB’s satisfaction.

Mr. President, as you recognized in your response, the players acted in good faith and played the first three ODI’s with the high expectation that the matter would be resolved or a clear pathway for an acceptable resolution identified. This must be viewed in the context that we have played without any knowledge of the purported new MOU and having been advised by WIPA not to sign the match/tour contract.

In other words, we are playing without having agreed the terms and conditions. This therefore means that we have no real coverage in place for medical, insurance, security and many other terms and conditions that come with being an international cricketer.

We were truly hoping that the WICB together with WIPA and/or the players would do everything in their power to seriously address the concerns of the players. Regrettably, this has not happened.

Mr. President, for the record, the players are not against the need for restructuring and reform. The players’ issue is that there has been no resolution, no mandate, no consultation, no prior Board approval as far as WIPA is concerned and yet there is an agreement of unreasonable terms and conditions. In addition to the issue of deficient representation there is a case that the purported MOU may be wholly unjust and unfair and the new salary structure is untenable.

In these circumstances the players feel there is sufficient basis to ask for its termination and its renegotiation.

It appears to us that the WICB is asking the players to make all the sacrifice. Have you asked your administrative employees such as your CEO, Senior Executives, the numerous Administrative Assistants, Marketing personnel, Team Managers, Team Personnel and Incoming Coach to take a two-third cut on their salaries and allowances?

It is therefore not a true representation to say this is solely an issue between players and their representative. The WICB had a duty to be sure that all partners and stakeholders were aware and understood the consequences of such a fundamental change as is being proposed.

Mr. President, having taken the field in good faith, appealed to WIPA to address our concerns to no avail and asked the WICB to demonstrate with action, what is often bandied about in words, namely that they are interested in player welfare and partnership, it seems to us that there has been no reciprocal action.

As a consequence and as a matter of principle, we cannot be party to this grave injustice. The players regretfully wish to advise that they can no longer accept this situation, which has affected each and every player in a very negative way.  The players are under tremendous stress and undue pressure.

We have informed the Manager and Coach of our decision to return home with the hope that these issues will be addressed to the satisfaction of all.

Regards,

Dwayne Bravo on behalf of the WI team.

 

Editor’s Note: Please click HERE to read the preceding letter sent by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron to the players.

Or click HERE to read more about what the three parties were fighting over.

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86 comments

  1. Would someone out there let me know if the TTCB has any part to play in to protect our national players before they are sent off? If not, should they? I agree with the points of a back up team. Is the WICB really demonstrating that it could get sued for millions if the team gets sick and there aren’t any replacements? Should the TTCB step in and offer its services to the BCCI? What an opportunity that would be!

  2. This is such a sad day for a former power house of world cricket. Run in the West Indies by a group mainly consisting of non-professional egomaniacs hell bent on taking what they can for themselves. The game in the West Indies has not kept up with the professional movement other countries have followed since the 1990s and the West Indies team has languished 8th in the rankings for both ODIs and test cricket for a number of years. My dad took me to my first test match at the Oval when I was around 4 years old and I continued since then to support the West Indies. Although my Dad has now passed on, we are both now very afraid that we will no longer have a team to support as this may be the end of this former world beating cricket nation.

  3. they woulda lose all the rest of the games. its our karma.everytime we win the first game we lose everything else.

  4. WICB still trying to play day night games without light. Until there is fundamental change at the top, following this team like facing Murali or Sunil, pure googleeye . I’ll just sip my tea and watch this latest episode of ‘The Young and the Cricketless’

  5. They should sue until there is nothing left…WICB should be dissolved and the rot which is and was cut out of W.I. Cricket forever, as for bravo and his team,WIPA, and WICB they are all to blame ( if we going point fingers). The stake holders have been suffering for too long and the failure is EPIC, it has reached it’s point of no return for many years now!

  6. may be they call it off after the BCCI reject the replacement team

  7. The WICB said they didnt call it off in earlier comments now they have changed their story

  8. BCCI running international cricket……does anyone remember the issue with the CEO of Cricket South Africa when he was sent on leave because the BCCI did not like him from when he was bigboy in the ICC…that is the world cricket power they are

  9. No grey area…check the press release. WICB called it off due to the unavailability of the players.

  10. may be is why it has a grey area in who call off the tour

  11. I hope bravo remembers he plays in India and i think the shareholders will not take this lying down .

  12. It’s big business, Dale Nanton, you surely do not expect BCCI to accept any poor calibre team to play international matches on the tour, do you?

  13. Acceptable by whom? BCCI? so they want to pick the West Indies team too

  14. Dale Nanton, the WICB in its press release said that their offer of a replacement team was rejected.

  15. Did mister Bravo and company sign any contract?

  16. Why didn’t the WICB send a second string team?

  17. Thank you Jonathan Cumberbatch. I have been trying to point out that a duly authorised team of a recognised bargaining ‘union’ has had bilateral negotiations with an ’employer’ and signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding that spells out the terms and conditions of its ‘workers’. These workers, despite some concerns, have actually commenced working under the agreed terms (implied consent, maybe?) while raising a dispute over said concerns.
    They DO NOT have the legal right to down tools in the circumstances and refuse to take further part in the tour without exposing themselves to possible disciplinary action and, perhaps, even legal action taken against them for losses incurred as a result of their ‘illegal’ action. Their position is all the more untenable given the fact that their ‘union’ has raised no dispute on their behalf in accordance with the terms of the new CBA/MOU.
    We are not helping their cause by chaining them up and encouraging them to take such action. Whether we like the WICB or not, we ought not to condone such action on the part of the players. Instead, they ought to be encouraged to utilise the proper avenues for redress where there are legitimate concerns. This anarchy must stop!

  18. LL there is no other ‘we’ if your union, to whom you have abdicated your individual say, has agreed to anything. That’s life with a union. This happens every day. If you choose to act out, you are on your own regarding the consequences. That’s not an interpretation. I have no dog in either camp but very bad advice is being provided to mr bravo and company. They are free to see the tour out and then seek redress through several options.

  19. Jonathan Cumberbatch, that is your interpretation. A qualified interpretation, perhaps. But still an interpretation.
    The fact that the plays said they won’t sign, always made it clear that they were unhappy with the contracts and urged the WICB to sort it out suggests that noone could possibly say they created any “expectancy to all stakeholders.”
    Is it possible to misinterpret: “We do not agree to this contract and do not want to play under it”?

  20. 7. The WICB will host an emergency Board Meeting on Tuesday October 21st, in Barbados, to conduct a thorough assessment of all the ramifications of the premature end to the tour and any action which may be necessary therefrom. The WICB will host a media conference following this meeting. Further details will be provided upon confirmation. WOW! AFTER THE TOUR IS CANCELLED THEY NOW STUDYING THE RAMIFICATIONS?

  21. Where is Hinds and Michael Hall , the man who take up a job offer with the Caribbean Premier League while he was negotiating for the players …..and decided to stay on as a WIPA director……can somebody spell ” c-o-n-f-l-i-c-t o-f i-n-t-e-r-e-s-t”

  22. Just saw your query LL. Check my response above. The signing of contracts is moot as they physically engaged in the project and ‘enjoyed’ several benefits prior to their action (eg receiving winners cheque after game 1 from sponsor) thus creating an expectancy to all stakeholders that it would be seen through. I’ve worked in IR most of my career so trust me when I say only the ICC may be able to save this genuine catastrophe.

  23. Why did this really have to happen? Is the function of WIPA to administer cricket for the good of players and spectators or strong arm players? Time to remember the purpose of our administrative bodies.

  24. I thought the Board said they didn’ t call off the tour, now they had no choice….inconsistent

  25. WICB statement re West Indies tour of India

    St John’s, Antigua – The Board of Directors of the West Indies Cricket Board held an emergency meeting by teleconference today to discuss the developments with regard to the West Indies tour of India.

    The Board of Directors was briefed of the latest developments and as a result of decisions taken the WICB advises:

    1. The WICB clarifies that players in the West Indies Squad currently in India represented by Mr. Dwayne Bravo indicated to the WICB through the West Indies Team Management that the players have taken a decision to withdraw their services for the remainder of the tour of India. As a result of this action by the players the WICB was left with no option but to advise the BCCI that it will no longer be able to provide a West Indies team for the remaining five matches (5th ODI, T20 International, three Test matches).

    2. The WICB wishes to further clarify that its proposed alternative arrangement of a replacement West Indies team was not considered acceptable. The WICB is understanding of this position.

    3. The WICB unreservedly apologises to West Indian fans and all cricket fans for this most regrettable situation and the premature end to the tour.

    4. The WICB unreservedly apologises to the BCCI, their sponsors, broadcasters and other stakeholders for the premature end to the tour.

    5. The WICB thanks the BCCI, their sponsors, broadcasters, other stakeholders and fans for their patience and understanding during the first four ODIs. The WICB wishes the BCCI every success with the proposed alternative arrangements and looks forward to the continuation of the strong and longstanding relationship between the two boards.

    6. The WICB clarifies further that as a result of postulations by the players, the tour was under a cloud of uncertainty from the inception. The WICB, acting prudently, advised the host board – BCCI – of the developments and remained in constant contact to provide updates as to the threat of possible player action.

    7. The WICB will host an emergency Board Meeting on Tuesday October 21st, in Barbados, to conduct a thorough assessment of all the ramifications of the premature end to the tour and any action which may be necessary therefrom. The WICB will host a media conference following this meeting. Further details will be provided upon confirmation.

    8. The WICB regrets that the delegation which was pre-scheduled to travel to India to meet with the players on a number of issues will no longer be able to conduct such meeting at which the intention was also to discuss the concerns of the players. The delegation had included WICB Chief Executive Officer Mr. Michael Muirhead, Chairman of the Cricket Committee Mr. Julian Charles and also WIPA President and CEO Mr. Wavell Hinds. The delegation had been scheduled to arrive in India on Monday October 20. This meeting was scheduled prior to any issues being raised with the New MOU/CBA and it was intended to acquaint all the parties of how it would roll out. This was necessary as the WICB did not have an opportunity to so do in the Caribbean due to the logistical challenges of assembling all the players prior to departure for the tour of India (some of the players were already in India participating in the Champions League). The WICB CEO, Mr. Muirhead and WIPA President/CEO Mr. Hinds had been in negotiations with regard to finding a mutually agreeable position to allow for the full tour to be completed.

    9. The WICB further regrets that in his initial communication to the WIPA President and CEO Mr. Hinds, Mr. Bravo chose to use inflammatory language and issue a clear threat to cause injury to West Indies cricket.

    Specifically Mr. Bravo wrote: “Please note that we are giving you the opportunity to right this wrong before things deteriorate [sic] to such an extent that West Indies cricket to the wider cricket world looks to fall to its knees again.”

    10. The WICB reiterates that as a result of the action taken by the players the Board was forced with no other option but to discontinue the tour. The Board once again apologises unreservedly for the premature end to the tour.

    Finally, the WICB advises that the West Indies A Team tour of Sri Lanka continues as scheduled.

    -ENDS-

  26. Workers fall out with their unions all the time. They then elect new leaders at the appointed time. They cannot pick up their tools/ bats and balls and walk off the work site. The union is their legal representative and it’s decisions are binding for good or ill. That’s negotiations. There is always another day to correct matters….until the company closes down.

  27. Meanwhile the Soca Princesses will be playing Haiti at 6.30 PM in just over 30 mins time. I rallying with the Women. Go Soca Princesses do yourselves and your Country proud once again.

  28. Don’t worry house slaves Shiv’ Sammy, and some grade C players will come to the rescue in a timing next tour tour.