Contract dispute mere smokescreen for deeper issues: WICB

The WICB has described its contract row with the Players Association as "a mere smokescreen" for deeper issues between the two sides.

updated: August 12, 2009 11:04 IST
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St John's, Antigua:

The West Indies Cricket Board has described its contract row with the Players Association as "a mere smokescreen" for deeper issues between the two sides and lambasted them for boycotting the Tests against Bangladesh.

"While we had made progress in our relationship with the players and that the industrial relations environment was more stable, we were still to negotiate a new MOU with WIPA and that we would be putting forward a proposal for a wider distribution of resources," West Indies Cricket Board President Julian Hunte said in the annual general meeting earlier this week.

"I always felt that the differences with WIPA would explode before us once the WICB became firm and resolute that this was the way forward.

"All other issues - injury payments, late tour contracts, retainer contracts, intellectual property rights, etc. - have been and would continue to be a mere smokescreen for the fundamental issue of whether WICB would be strong enough to have WIPA to accept the proposals for a new MOU," he was quoted as saying by the 'Jamaica Gleaner'.

Hunte also came down heavily on players and the WIPA for boycotting the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup ticket launch and their strike just before a Test against Bangladesh.

"(This) represented the highest form of disregard and disdain for West Indies cricket," Hunte said.

"It was not about action against the WICB, it was a statement on the attitude of the players towards West Indies cricket. It meant that cricket and its regional and international importance do not matter.

"It was simply a case of players feeling so invincible, drunken by the numerous occasions on which they had gotten away with whatever behaviour they chose, that they can act with wanton disrespect for the game of cricket."

Hunte also said the relationship between the two bodies had "worsened and reached an all-time low".

"The president of WIPA, who sat as a director of the WICB, resigned and in the process lost the opportunity which existed for the directors to be addressed directly by WIPA and avoid the situation where differences became a public matter."

Hunte said the two sides have to adopt a more respectful approach to each other for success in negotiations.

"We are clear that we cannot proceed along the old beaten path of financial demands that borders on unsustainability, on threats that place every tour in uncertainty.

"Our road map is clear. We must agree on a long-term arrangement that commits a percentage of our resources to the players with the rest allocated to cricket development, institutional capacity, tournaments and tours," he said.