West Indies officials reject demand

Guyana – West Indies cricket officials have rejected a players association demand to pay $500,000 in appearance fees for a tournament in Australia next month, an official said.

The West Indies Players Association demanded the fees be paid to the 14-member team in addition to match, tour fees and incentives, said Chetram Singh, a West Indies Cricket Board official and president of the Guyana Cricket Board.

The demand once again ‘puts the tour in jeopardy,’ he said.

Players association officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Plans for the one-day triangular limited overs series involving Australia, Pakistan and the West Indies were almost derailed last month. Most of the West Indies team, including captain Brian Lara, refused to accept invitations to play because of a conflict over personal endorsements.

The players said they risked losing their image rights because of their contracts with Cable & Wireless, the rival of the board’s new sponsor, competing telecommunications firm Digicel.

The board barred the players from the Barbados training camp until both parties agreed through mediation to reopen the camp Nov. 29 and allow an arbitrator to solve the problems.

The new demand ‘is absolute madness,’ Singh said Sunday, hours after the players’ representative Dinanath Ramnarine lay it before the board.

The team was paid a total of $390,000 in appearance fees this year for four test matches and seven one-day internationals against England and for two tests and five one-dayers against Bangladesh, both in the Caribbean, board officials said.

In Australia, the players will be on the field for eight days. In the two previous tours, they were on the field for a total of 42 days.

The West Indies was champion from the late 1970s to 1995, when it was dethroned by Australia, the current cricket champion.

Although the West Indies won the ICC Champions Trophy in England in September, it is still in the bottom group of the 10 test playing nations.