The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) could face a US$65 (TT$412) million lawsuit, according to the ESPN CricInfo, for abandoning its tour of India due to internal wrangling with its players.
This figure was calculated using India’s home series against the West Indies in the 2013/14 season as a guide and then multiplying the average revenue per day then by the 17 match days lost through the WICB’s pull out.
The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), which is cricket’s wealthiest body, generates revenue through broadcast sponsorship, series-title sponsorship, team-title sponsorship and apparel sponsorship as well as from a share of advertising from the host broadcaster, gate receipts and in-stadia advertising.
BCCI general secretary Sanjay Patel said the board will receive legal advice by October 21 at which time its working committee will decide if to proceed with a lawsuit against the WICB.
“We have referred the matter to our legal cell and asked them to let us know by 21st about how we can pursue the issue legally,” said BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel, who told ESPNCricInfo that the numbers were still being computed. “They [WICB] entered into a bilateral agreement with us, and they abandoned the tour due to their internal issues, so we will have to seek compensation. But, depending on the legal advice, the working committee will decide the future course of action.”
According to figures from the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), it would have cost the WICB just US$683,581 (TT$4.3 million) to save the series.
This was the maximum that the WICB could have paid, in addition to its current match fee structure, if president Dave Cameron agreed to ODI captain’s Dwayne Bravo’s proposal to revert to the old Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)/Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) until after the series.
Bravo argued that, since the new deal between the WICB and WIPA was done without input from the players, it would be fair if all parties agreed to use the old agreement and postpone renegotiation until after the series.
“We propose the continuation under the old structure until a new agreement is reached between the players and WICB,” wrote Bravo, in a letter to the WICB president. “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.”
But Cameron refused to budge.
“We must make it clear to you that we recognise and respect the principles set out in the MOU/CBA signed by ourselves and WIPA on September 19, 2014,” wrote Cameron, “and any involvement on our part could only be in accordance with that agreement.
“The document is explicit in that the West Indies Players’ Association is the sole and exclusive collective bargaining representative recognised by the WICB for all Cricketers i.e. all persons contracted by the WICB to play for a West Indies Team.
“What this effectively means is that we will only engage in discussions relating to the welfare, working conditions and remuneration of Cricketers with WIPA.”
The West Indies players viewed their new contracts as a “grave injustice” and Cameron’s position meant any lingering goodwill between the two sides had vanished.
The players vowed they would not play, the board refused to yield and the series was abandoned.
The WICB and WIPA admitted the senior West Indies players had not seen the CBA/MOU let alone agreed to it.
And, although the West Indies players threatened to strike on October 7, Cameron said yesterday that neither the WICB nor WIPA met the players in the 14 days before the series finally collapsed. All three parties communicated through emails; most of which were published on Wired868.
The WICB said yesterday it was due to meet the players on Monday in a meeting that would also be attended by WIPA president Wavell Hinds. Salary negotiations were not on the agenda.
The West Indies players were not interested.
Wired868 understands that the West Indies cricketers have not been paid for the four ODIs played in the series—one was cancelled due to bad weather—while several players used their own money to book flights out of India due to confusion over travel arrangements with the board.
The WICB blamed Bravo and the players for the aborted series and pointed out that its offer to bring replacement players to India was rejected by the BCCI.
BCCI responds to the WICB:
The BCCI would like to clarify that despite all its efforts, the Micromax Cup India vs West Indies ODI series has been curtailed because of the ongoing issue between WICB and its players, and the withdrawal of the WI team from the ongoing tour of India.
The timeline of the WICB’s withdrawal is mentioned below:
7 October 2014:
Mr. Dave Cameron sent a copy of a letter addressed to Mr. Wavell Hinds, which stated that the failure of the West Indies players to take the field will leave the WICB with – ‘no alternative but to cancel the match and notify the BCCI accordingly and recall the team.’
8 October 2014:
Around 3:00 am India time, Mr. Dave Cameron sent a mail to the BCCI stating he is withdrawing the team from the tour. Mr. Sanjay Patel rushed to Kochi and spoke to the WI players and managed to get on with the match.
12 October 2014:
Mr. Patel met Mr. Cameron in Dubai and asked him for a confirmation that the rest of the tour will go on. Mr. Cameron assured that by close of business on Wednesday 15 October, he will confirm one way or the other.
AM of 16 October 2014:
There was no response from Mr. Cameron.
PM of 16 October 2014:
Mr. Patel sent a reminder mail to Mr. Cameron, seeking an urgent response.
17 October 2014 – 3:00 am:
Mr. Cameron sent a response stating that – ‘WICB are not able to provide any assurances or guarantees’ and that WICB will communicate their position by end of the day on 17 October.
17 October 2014 – 10:00 am
Mr. Richard Pybus of the WICB sent a mail to the BCCI stating – ‘WICB’s position is that if the players refuse to play then the players must return home and the rest of the ODI and Test tour is called off. This has been discussed with the WICB President and CEO and they are fully aware of developments here.’
17 October – 2:00 pm
Mr. Richie Richardson sent a mail to the BCCI stating the following: ‘Despite agreeing to play the 4th ODI in Dharamshala, regrettably, the current West Indies players have decided that they will not participate any further in this tour and wish to return home after this match. In light of this, I suggest that the entire squad travel to Delhi tomorrow and be booked into a hotel there, until international return flights have been booked. On behalf of the entire squad and WICB, I apologise for the inconvenience caused.’
This makes it clear that all along, the WICB was withdrawing its team if a resolution was not reached in the issue with their players.