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Exclusive: West Indies cricketers and WICB clash over World Cup match fees

The following letters, allegedly sent by West Indies T20 cricket captain Darren Sammy to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and from WICB CEO Michael Muirhead to Sammy, were shared with Wired868 by I95.5 FM sport journalist, Andre Baptiste:

Photo: West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy makes a point.
Photo: West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy makes a point.

To all concerned at WICB,

I am sending this as captain of the West Indies T20 side and as a collective representative of the 15 man squad selected for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

We have collectively discussed the remuneration on offer to participate in the T20 World Cup. Considering that 14 out of the 15 man squad are not part of WIPA—and hence have not given authorisation to WIPA to negotiate on our behalf—and a large number do not receive any significant remuneration from WICB at all, we want the opportunity to negotiate fairly the financial terms within the contract.

The 2015 World Cup took place with the WI squad remunerated under the terms and conditions that had been in place for the World Cups previous, which is that 25% of income received by the WICB for participating in the tournament was distributed to the squad.

We do not understand—nor accept—just one year later being offered contracts to participate in a major ICC World Cup that show such huge financial reductions.

We want to represent the West Indies but the financials on offer we can’t accept.

Photo: WIPA president Wavell Hinds (right) and WICB president Dave Cameron exchange pleasantries at the opening of WIPA's new office in Jamaica in 2014. (Courtesy WIPA)
Photo: WIPA president Wavell Hinds (right) and WICB president Dave Cameron exchange pleasantries at the opening of WIPA’s new office in Jamaica in 2014.
(Courtesy WIPA)

Obviously I am not privy to exact numbers paid to the WICB from the ICC, but I understand US$8m will be paid to the Board.

Traditionally 25% has been paid to the squad. That would equate to US$2m / 15 therefore approximately US$133,000 per player.

Worse case scenario the squad would earn US$414,000 collectively under the terms of the contract offered by WICB to participate in the T20 World Cup 2016.

That is just over 5%. A staggering difference, a near 80% reduction.

We want to propose we participate in the T20 World Cup 2016 under the same terms we have represented the West Indies in previous tournaments.

Please can you address this urgently. The T20 World Cup is just a matter of weeks away.

Darren Sammy

Photo: The West Indies cricket team during happier times.
Photo: The West Indies cricket team during happier times.

The following letter was sent by WICB CEO Michael Muirhead:

Dear Mr Sammy,
The West Indies Players’ Association is the recognised collective bargaining representative of West Indies Cricketers and therefore negotiates the remuneration between WICB and each West Indian player, whether such player is or is not a member of WIPA.

In recognition of the MOU between WICB and WIPA, the WICB will not engage in negotiations on the terms of compensation under the contract with any player or group of players, without the involvement or endorsement of WIPA.

However, we note that you have raised some queries in your mail, and respond as follows:
(i) “we understand USD $8M will be paid to the Board”

We are not sure where you obtained this information, but assure you it is totally incorrect. As a result of the ICC revamp which was agreed on February 2014, the ICC has changed the manner in which distributions to Full Members in relation to ICC Events are paid—starting from the ICC WT20 2016.

Photo: The West Indies cricket team.
Photo: The West Indies cricket team.

 

These payments are now spread out and distributed over an eight year cycle, rather than being paid out in a lump sum and attributed to any one event. It is therefore not possible to identify a particular sum which will be paid to the WICB by the ICC in respect of the WT20 2016.

In fact, it was postulated that India accounted for at least 80% of the global cricket viewership and as such are entitled to the lion’s share of the cumulative ICC revenues.

(ii) “traditionally 25% has been paid to the squad”

While it is true that WICB has previously calculated compensation to the ICC Event squad members as a percentage of the ICC distribution received in relation to the particular Event; because of the reason outlined above, it is not possible to calculate a percentage to be paid to the Squad, as the ICC distribution is no longer being made in the traditional manner.

The WICB, in recognition of this, and in an effort at fairness and transparency, allocates 25% of WICB revenues estimated over a four year period—including ICC distributions—to players, through a guaranteed minimum revenue pool, out of which player payments are made.

Photo: West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Wavell Hinds (right) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron shake hands over the players'  controversial CBA/MOU in September 2014. (Courtesy WIPA)
Photo: West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Wavell Hinds (right) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron shake hands over the players’ controversial CBA/MOU in September 2014.
(Courtesy WIPA)

 

Anything in excess of this minimum over the relevant 4 year cycle, will be divided solely among the international players, as agreed with WIPA.

Additionally, I would remind you that the structure for player compensation in relation to ICC Events was communicated in a letter from the CEOs of WIPA and WICB, distributed to players in May 2015.

The contracts which have been issued reflect the arrangements which were set out in that letter, and which are contained in the MOU between WICB and WIPA.

The remuneration to the players for the WT20 comprises an agreed match fee of three times the usual fee, plus 50% of any the net proceeds of any sponsorship for the event, and 80% of any prize money earned by the Team.

Note that for this tournament, the prize money has increased substantially from the previous WT20, moving from a gross total of US$3million to US$5.6million, of which the winner will receive US$1.6million.

Photo: West Indies T20 all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
Photo: West Indies T20 all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me. Do note however, that we are unable to move the deadline of 2pm ECT on 14 February 2016 for receipt of the signed player contracts for the WT20 2016.

We hope that this clarifies the position and anticipate a favourable response.

Regards,

Michael Muirhead

 

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read subsequent letters from both parties as West Indies captain Darren Sammy asks for doubled match fees for T20 World Cup; and WICB CEO Michael Muirhead retorts “ask WIPA.”

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262 comments

  1. Dear Sir,
    As captain of the WT20 team, I wish that we can settle this matter and focus on preparations for the tournament. I want to state on behalf of the players that we want to play and will represent the West Indies to the best of our abilities. The embarrassment and fiasco of the Indian Tour which was called off by the Board must not be allowed to happen. However, it is the arrogance and high-handedness of the Board which cause these problems. You cannot continue force players to be represented by a body that they are not members of and do not want to represent them. You cannot continue to be unfair and unreasonable. Issues like this will continue to plague West Indies cricket unless you have an MOU and arrangements for non-WIPA players are fair and just. We are aware that, win or lose, this may well be the last tournament for most of us as reprisals will set in but we will speak out for what is fair. We are players and we know that unless radical changes take place, players will always have the grievance of which we complain.
    We simply find it bizarre that the Board does not know how much it will receive from the ICC for the tournament! How you receive the value may be spread over time but you surely should know what the income is.
    Notwithstanding the above, we ask that you consider our request to double the match fees, share 50% of sponsorship fees and award 100% of prize money to the players.
    If you don’t agree to the above, would you consider that this matter goes to mediation for a settlement.
    We believe that the above options are fair and reasonable. We have compromised on our earlier request that original formula be used. We trust that the Board will also be willing to compromise.
    Regards.

  2. One major player already ruled himself out of tournaments – but rules mean I can’t say who he is until WICB and player himself announces4 it

  3. CNC3 reporting that Selectors have been advised to select an alternative team in case contracts aren’t signed by Sunday

  4. My simple response to that press release is since the shambles of the India pull out – the trend developing for senior players is just that they are loosing money in every way in their international pay, CPL pay and now World Cup pay.

  5. For immediate release
    February 10, 2016

    The following is a summary of what has taken place since the premature ending of the West Indies tour of India in October 2014 and the steps taken to ensure players receive the best available remuneration package.

    October 2014 Abandoned tour of India

    October 2014 Meeting with Prime Ministers Dr the Hon Ralph Gonsalves, Dr the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell; President and Vice President – Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron & Emmanuel Nanthan; Players – Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin; Board Director – Baldath Mahabir (who has since resigned); Attorneys-at-law- Luke Hamil-Smith and Ralph Thorne, WIPA President – Wavell Hinds
    Discussion: to agree a process of resolution regarding the pay issues surrounding the abandonment of the India tour
    It was agreed that the issue be put to arbitration/mediation
    · WIPA would represent all players with regards to all categories of remuneration
    · The agreements for player compensation whether they were a part of a West Indies team at an international level/franchise team at first-class level

    May 2015 Mediation/Arbitration – Jamaica
    Present were members from
    · FICA (umbrella body for all players” associations worldwide) – Ian Smith
    · ICC – Iain Higgins
    · Former PWC senior partner, Brian Young
    · WIPA and WICB representatives
    Result: Comprehensive review of the existing MOU/CBA with WIPA and the players; a review of the comprehensive package incorporating as an agreement appended to the MOU; a letter to all players signifying the resultant effect for all players

    May 2015 Retreat in Barbados
    This retreat sought to achieve a number of objectives
    1. Clarify the process of communication
    2. Clarify all roles and responsibilities
    3. Commit to the way forward
    4. Together discover a vision for WI Cricket
    · Understand the importance of WI cricket as a tool for social and economic transformation
    o Present were
    o The members of the Test squad for Australia of which Denesh Ramdin, Jason Holder, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor attended – they are members of the current World T20 squad; other players present were: Darren Bravo, Jermaine Blackwood, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Kraigg Brathwaite, Carlos Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Shane Dorwich, Veerasammy Permaul
    o Franchise Captains
    o Franchise CEOs
    o Management and Staff of the WICB
    o Selectors
    o Board of Directors
    Result
    · The West Indies Compensation Structure 2014 – 2018
    o The report outlined
    § Player retainers
    § Match Fees
    § Incentive Payments
    § ICC Events
    § Provident Fund
    § Per Diem/Meal Allowances
    § Injury Payments
    § Additional Cricket
    All international players were communicated to by the Secretariat. All territorial boards and franchises were sent the information to be disseminated to all first class players.

    All those conditions were adhered to for:
    · Home tours – England (May 2015) & Australia (June 2015)
    · Away tours – Sri Lanka (October – November), Australia (December 2015 – January 2016)

    February 8, 2016 Letter from T20 Captain querying a number of issues on the agreed remuneration package which was sent from May 2015.

    The WICB has since been in dialogue with the captain and the rest of the squad. The selected players all have contracts and they are due to be signed by Sunday, February 14.
    The ICC Twenty20 World Cup is due from March 8 to April 3 in India.

    Carole Beckford
    Manager, Communications and Marketing
    West Indies Cricket Board Inc.
    T. 268.481.2464 | F. 268.481.2498
    Windiescricket.com

    P.O. Box 616W
    Factory Road, St John’s, Antigua W.I.

  6. Just saw a media release from the WICB outlining the sequence of events subsequent to the aborted tour of India.
    If this is indeed an accurate transcript of the sequence of events, it seems to me that the WICB have made considerable efforts to communicate with the WIPA and the players regarding the agreements reached with WIPA relative to player remuneration. While details are not provided, it seems to me that the players had adequate opportunity to understand their agreed positions.
    WIPA remains the bargaining body for the players and their grouse is with the WIPA and not the WICB.
    Their concerns should have been addressed through WIPA a long time ago.
    Attempting to hold the WICB to ransom at this late stage does not seem to be appropriate.
    My position is based on the information released. If it is not the full picture or is inaccurate, I would need to reconsider my position.

  7. WICB needs to be disbanded. They’re a bunch of dishonest, self – seeking charlatans who are taking Caribbean people for asses. Fire bun Cameron and Muirhead and all the other nasty thieves

  8. For once, the WICB, the players involved and WIPA all need to put aside egos and find a solution to what is in the best interest of West Indies cricket. Information in the public domain is sketchy at best, yet everyone seems to be pronouncing on the issue.

  9. Without dialogue, this isnt going to be fixed and both sides seem pretty affixed in their stances. Anyone understands what the backup plan is, if the 14 players decide not to play.. withdraw, send 2nd string team, or some other option to be identified??

    • Second string team is possible it happened before when the players had a strike b4 the 2009 champions trophy and Windies sent a 2nd string team

      However I’m not sure if ICC would accept that this time – which is why the veracity of Muirheads comments about the ICC revenues they are getting needs further clarification

    • A big mess that can get “messier” with ICC and Caricom implications.. hope it gets worked out with middle ground being reached. WIPA has been pretty quiet though..

  10. Revenue from player transfers can finance individually negotiated contracts in a system that works in tandem with the collective bargaining process.

  11. So in the words of the former WICB media officer Imran Khan a quick summary of situation is the following:

    1. Here’s your contract.
    2. Whoa! Significant salary reduction. We can’t accept such a drastic reduction.
    3. But you have already accepted it.
    4. Huh? How?
    5. We negotiated it with your union and they agreed.
    6. My union?
    7. Yes, your union.
    8. But we are not members of any union.
    9. But you are.
    10. I am telling you I am not.
    11. I am telling you that you are. And you are because I say you are. It’s called MoU and Collective Bargaining Agreement.
    12. We are not members. We do not accept. Please do better.
    13. No can do. Please sign or else we would have to deem that you have refused and we will replace you.
    14. We will not accept.

  12. Btw… Is Narine in this squad? Please tell me the 35k of our taxpayers dollars aren’t just going to go to waste. ??

  13. Let Cameron, Muirhead and Co pad up now.

  14. “What is the sponsorship income that has been generated? We are being offered a percentage of what exactly?” My original question. WICB can then easily say there’s no sponsorship money to distribute. How can you sign an open-ended agreement? How can one not be sure if they’re working for $6,900 or $690,000?

  15. So from a test match fee of 17,000 us to 5,000us
    Now from a world cup fee of 135kus to 20kus