CPL Could End Retainer Contract Dispute
The contentious issue of retainer contracts for regional first-class cricketers is set to be addressed with the staging of the new Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 next year.
The announcement was made on Monday during the official launch of the franchised-based CPL, which is being modelled off the popular Indian Premier League.
"The WICB is pleased about the opportunities the CPL will provide for players and is equally elated with one of the agreement, which will allow for regional retainer contracts for a broader pool of players," said West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president, Dr Julian Hunte.
"This, we at the WICB believe, will allow for the strengthening and further development of the game, as while the CPL is a T20 league, the benefits accrued through retainer contracts will extend to other formats of the game," he added.
Other formats include the regional four-day and one-day tournaments.
The WICB will receive part proceeds from CPL revenues and will in turn distribute it to member countries for the implementation of yearlong retainer contracts.
The issue of retainer contracts has been a burning issue between the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), which represents regional cricketers, and the WICB, in recent years.
According to WIPA, the lack of adequate retainer contracts has hindered the growth and development of players, who instead of focusing on cricket full-time have to be playing on a part-time basis.
However, in its defence, the WICB is adamant that it cannot afford to pay retainer contracts for regional first-class players.
Instead, what they have opted to do, in negotiations with WIPA in recent years, is increase the appearance or match fees for players during regional tournaments.
Th rates are US$1,300 (J$119,600) for four-day matches, US$1,000 (J$92,000) for one-day fixtures, and US$750 (J$69,000) for Twenty20 games.
According to WIPA, the fees are inadequate and, as such, they have been in discussions with the WICB to find a solution.
Consequently, the cricket associations in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago provide retainers for their players. It is understood that Barbados Cricket Association has 15 players on retainer contracts and pays them approximately US$1,000 (J$92,000) per month. The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board compensates its cricketers on a monthly basis via their Elite Athlete Development programme.
The CPL, which is being organised by investment firm Verus International, is set to replace the existing country-based Caribbean Twenty20, which will have its final edition contested next month.
The CPL T20, which also caters to international players from outside the region, will be televised across the world and features six city-based teams from Caribbean countries.