WICB, cricketers dispute WIPA’s legitimacy in new deal

Port of Spain (Trinidad), Feb 11 (IANS) The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and dissatisfied players have found themselves at odds over the legitimacy of the West Indies Players Association’s (WIPA) role in negotiating players’ contracts.

This disagreement was highlighted in an exchange of letters between the West Indies Twenty20 Captain Darren Sammy and WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead in the latest contracts impasse to hit the West Indies cricket, reports CMC.

In a letter to Muirhead on behalf of the T20 squad, Sammy rejected the notion that the WIPA was their legitimate representative.

“As a group, we don’t accept that WIPA can represent us. WIPA became conflicted during its negotiations with you and compromised itself,” Sammy wrote on Wednesday.

“It could not and did not actively represent the best interests of all the West Indies cricketers and is a major reason we are having this discussion.”

Sammy and the players are contending that the remuneration on offer from the board for the T20 World Cup next month is unacceptable, and have called for a return to the amounts offered under the previous contract.

In his response, Muirhead highlighted the role of the Wavell Hinds-led WIPA as the sole bargaining agent for the West Indies players and argued that the issues highlighted had been negotiated and agreed to by the players union.

The Jamaican pointed out that details of the new contract deal had been shared with players nine months ago and no objections had been raised.

“Any issues you or a particular group of players may have with the representation you receive from your association, respectfully, are best taken up with WIPA,” Muirhead wrote on Wednesday.

“As it stands, however, WIPA is the exclusive collective bargaining agent for West Indian players – regardless of who those particular players may be at any given time.”

“Kindly note that the terms on offer were negotiated and agreed between WICB and WIPA with the assistance of representatives from the ICC and FICA (International Cricketers Association) during a mediation process last year, and all parties agreed that they were fair and equitable and acceptable to be offered to the members WI team selected for the relevant ICC event.”

WIPA’s relationship with the West Indies players broke down considerably two years ago during the controversial abandoned tour of India, stemming from a similar contracts dispute.

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