Unpaid members of the Barbados Tridents competing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) should soon be receiving their long overdue salaries.
This was revealed today by CPL’s chief operating officer, Pete Russell, who expressed gratitude to those players who had acted professionally in the wake of not being paid for their services and assured them that all monies due to them would be paid very shortly.
Speaking at a media briefing at the Accra Beach Hotel, Russell said that CPL wanted to express publicly how grateful it was for the patience and understanding exhibited by the players. Tridents batsman and former West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith had previously complained to the media that he and other players had not been paid for the 2018 season. The franchise also had issues with non-payment of salaries to the players in 2017. Also at the media briefing this morning were Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief executive officer Johnny Grave and CPL’s chief executive officer Damien O’Donohoe.
“For us it’s just the worst possible scenario where you’ve got to assess circumstances where an owner for whatever reason can’t pay players. [It] is just not acceptable really. It’s been a process we’ve had to go through and we’re at the end of the process and it’s all positive going forward,” Russell said.
Russell also stated that systems would be instituted to ensure that the franchise players would not be faced with such a situation in the future.
“And this is again working with Cricket West Indies, to make sure that in the future players’ salaries are ring-fenced prior to the tournament so we know that money is sitting there, so the players are protected because we will not experience this again, under any circumstances,” Russell noted.
It was revealed during the media briefing that CPL principals had held talks with Prime Minister Mia Mottley about the staging of the tournament and one of the issues which she raised was the players’ salaries and the need to have the matter settled quickly.
Much of the issues related to salary payments to the Barbados Tridents appeared related to the ongoing financial and legal troubles of franchise owner, Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, in his homeland. O’Donohoe announced that Mallya would no longer have ownership of the Barbados Tridents for the 2019 tournament. He said the CPL was in discussions with interested parties and that new franchise owners would be in place before the players’ draft scheduled for May 22 in London.
“That’s obviously been a big headache for us … [but] that issue in relation to Barbados will be getting resolved in the next two to three weeks. We will also have a change of ownership which we hope to announce in two weeks time and that’s a very experienced owner who is going to come in, and it’s something that we’re obviously excited about and we’re looking forward to a fresh start at the end of this month,” O’Donohoe said.
Russell indicated that a decision had been made to reschedule the start of the CPL tournament in order to accommodate the revised India tour. The tournament was set to start in August but will now run from September 4 to October 12 to avoid a clash with the touring Indians, who are set to start their Caribbean series in August instead of July.
“We’ve worked very closely with Johnny and his team to make sure there wasn’t any overlap,” Russell explained.
“Cricket West Indies understands that we need obviously the best West Indies players and it also doesn’t make any sense for CPL to be playing while India are here. So there’s been a lot of juggling, negotiations and gnashing of teeth to get the schedule to where it is.”
He added: “We want our fans to be able to watch the best local talent taking part and that is why we are more than happy to be flexible with our dates to make that happen. The biggest party in sport may have been delayed by two weeks, but it is going to be even better as a result.”
Barbados will host their full complement of matches in September, a move Russell suggested would be a boost to tourism numbers at a time which is considered low season in the industry.
“Playing the games in September here is a good thing for Barbados because if you look at the tourist numbers … this is the weakest month,” he pointed out.
“One of the things that we are very keen to do now … is say how can we bring more people in? In CPL you get great cricket but it’s also a hell of an experience during that week so we believe there’s a lot more we can do. It’s about us supporting the tourism effort as much as it is the other way around.”
Grave acknowledged that CWI would be working even more closely with CPL in the future to make the tournament a success and to benefit the development of regional cricket. (WG/CMC)
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