WICB defends plans to impose 20 percent levy on T20 stars

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(CMC) The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has defended its decision to impose a 20 percent levy on the contract fees of its T20 stars playing in overseas domestic tournaments, saying revenue raised will be used to aid the development of players in the territories.

Dave Cameron
Dave Cameron

A statement from the WICB released on Tuesday morning, says some of the funds will be disbursed as an incentive for territories to “expose new cricket talent”.

The unprecedented move by the WICB proposed to take 20 percent of T20 players’ contract fees in exchange for a No-Objection Certificate to compete in overseas T20 tournaments.

“A portion of these funds derived from these release fees will also go back to the clubs and franchises/territories in recognition of the role they played in developing the player and as an incentive for them to continuously expose new cricket talent,” the statement said.

“The WICB earlier this year distributed player production fees to all the territories/franchises and clubs from which players came from”.

The WICB says it has communicated its new policy to the CEOs and Presidents of all ICC Full Members.

The statement says that so far India and Bangladesh have agreed to the release of fees.

However they are reports that WICB’s new policy has been rejected by Cricket South Africa and there has been no response yet from the Pakistan Cricket Board and Cricket Australia.

“The WICB is in the process of discussions with the various Full Members as to the other boards’ acceptance of that position. The dialogue is ongoing and we wait on official word,” said the statement.

“In addition to India, Bangladesh has also agreed to the release fees. The practice is also used in other jurisdictions like England”.

The Federation of International Players’ Association (FICA) has condemned the move and has threatened legal action against the WICB.

Insignia Sports, who manages allrounders Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle among others, also plans to challenge the WICB move.

“WICB understands that this policy decision may result in reciprocal agreements from other Full Member boards for obtaining NOCs for their players,” said the WICB statement.

“We view this approach as necessary to preserve the best interests of West Indies cricket at both domestic and international levels”.

FICA is threatening legal action against the WICB after allrounder Kieron Pollard was denied a No-Objection Certificate to compete in South Africa’s Domestic T20 League, ESPN Cricinfo has reported.

In an emailed letter from WICB’s chief executive officer Michael Muirhead on November 3, Pollard was informed that permission would not be granted to him until various boards featuring Caribbean players in their Domestic T20 tournaments agree with WICB’s new policy.

Muirhead has described the new policy as a decision of the WICB board of directors and said all the ICC Full Member boards have been notified.

“The WICB will levy a charge for the granting of an NOC for West Indian cricketers seeking a release to participate in Leagues outside the jurisdiction of the West Indies,” Muirhead informed Pollard in the email.

“This will be an amount equivalent to 20% of the player fee (as defined in the player contract) that is actually paid to the relevant player.”

Pollard, who signed a two-year contract  with Cape Cobras last season, remains in Trinidad with South Africa’s T20 due to  start on Friday.

FICA’s chairman Tony Irish says the move is unjustified since Pollard is not even a contracted WICB player and was dropped in controversial circumstances for the tri-series in Zimbabwe later this month.

“We have made it very clear to all the boards that any restrictions placed on players are likely to constitute restraint of trade and there challengeable legally,” he said.

“In the case of Kieron, he is not even contracted by the WICB. Therefore their attempt to levy 20% in exchange for the NOC effectively imposes a restriction on freedom of movement.”

But in his email, Muirhead has dismissed the idea that the WICB move constitutes restraint of trade.

“While we do not wish to act in restraint of trade, we must seek a balance to ensure that there is fair and adequate compensation for the investment made in the players,” he wrote.

“What WICB seeks is some compensation to recognise the investment made into players, an investment from which another Full Member is benefitting.”

Cricinfo is reporting that the Bangladesh Cricket Board is considering the WICB proposal while it has been rejected by Cricket South Africa and there has been no response yet from the Pakistan Cricket Board and Cricket Australia.

“It is not a good situation,” said Irish.

“I will be taking it directly as a FICA issue with the WICB and making them aware of the implications.”

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