BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday November 8, 2016 – Pay if you want to play.
That could soon be the situation facing West Indies cricketers looking to take part in the lucrative T20 leagues around the world, if the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has its way.
To compete in those tournaments, cricketers in the region must obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the WICB, giving them clearance.
In an unprecedented move, the WICB is now looking to implement a policy where players must agree to pay 20 per cent of their contract fee to get a NOC.
Only last week, Trinidadian all-rounder Kieron Pollard was denied an NOC to compete in South Africa’s domestic T20 league.
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.
“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 per cent of the player fee (as defined in the player contract) that is actually paid to the relevant player.”
However, the move has not gone down well with the Federation of International Players’ Association (FICA), which has threatened to take legal action against the WICB.
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-nation 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,” he said.
“In the case of Kieron, he is not even contracted by the WICB. Therefore, their attempt to levy 20 per cent in exchange for the NOC effectively imposes a restriction on freedom of movement.”
But in his email, Muirhead dismissed the idea that the WICB move constitutes 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 recognize the investment made into players…”