He who feels it knows it

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Tony Becca

MONEY, IT is said, espe­cially by those who do not have it, is the root of all evil.

To those who have it, how­ever, espe­cially a lot of it, money, if it is used prop­erly, is the key to hap­pi­ness and success.

The West In­dies Cricket Board has no money, or very lit­tle. It has no success on the field re­cently, or very lit­tle. It wants some money in a bid to find success, and it plans to get that money one way or an­other.

With the dwin­dling gate re­ceipts hurt­ing West In­dies cricket, the board’s only source of rev­enue is its share of rev­enue from the ICC and from tele­vi­sion.

The prob­lem of the board is where to find the money.

The money should come from the play­ers, but therein lies the prob­lem: the WIBC does not con­trol the play­ers. It has no play­ers.

As the body gov­ern­ing West In­dies cricket, the board se­lects the West In­dies team. The mem­ber coun­tries, how­ever, are the ones that pa­rade them in re­gional com­pe­ti­tion and then leave the West In­dies Board to select the best of them for in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. It is as sim­ple as that, or it should be as sim­ple as that.

Even though this seems to have been for­got­ten, or ig­nored, over the years, this is how it was meant to be, and this is how it should be.

West In­dies cricket, made up of 12 dif­fer­ent coun­tries and six mem­bers, and with no one to con­trol it, is a com­plex and con­fus­ing thing.

The play­ers all be­long to the mem­ber coun­tries and to the re­spec­tive clubs in the mem­ber coun­tries. They are the ones who discover the play­ers, who nur­ture their tal­ent, and put it on dis­play in lo­cal and in re­gional com­pe­ti­tions.

The West In­dies Cricket Board is in a bind. They are short of money to do what should be done, e.g., to pay the play­ers prop­erly and to ad­min­is­ter cricket prop­erly – to pro­vide proper coach­ing, espe­cially at the youth level, to pro­vide good fa­cil­i­ties, and to as­sist the clubs in some way.


The board say that its play­ers are in de­mand, that they are all around the world play­ing in T20 cricket and that they are mak­ing money do­ing so, and they have de­cided that they want some of that money.

First of all, Kieron Pol­lard is the player the West In­dies Cricket Board re­fused the No Ob­jec­tion Cer­tifi­cate (NOC) to play in Bangladesh al­though Pol­lard is not on the West In­dies team, al­though Pol­lard is not a con­tracted player with the West In­dies board, even though the board should have no con­trol over him, and even though other West In­di­ans are play­ing around the world with­out even a mur­mur.

This seems a case of dou­ble stan­dards.

The Board has since clar­i­fied its po­si­tion by say­ing that the 20 per cent it is ask­ing for is to be paid by the or­gan­is­ing board and not by the player, or play­ers, and has back-tracked a bit since by “re­leas­ing” Pol­lard.

This all started with the West In­dies Cricket Board’s re­fusal to sign the NOC for Pol­lard to go Bangladesh to play and the ob­jec­tion to the de­mand by the in­ter­na­tional play­ers as­so­ci­a­tion Cricket South Africa, and Cricket Aus­tralia while say­ing that it is a re­straint of trade and that they are will­ing to fight it.

The West In­dies Cricket Board, how­ever, claims it is not a re­straint of trade by say­ing that they have a right to a per­cent­age of the play­ers’ fees due to their in­vest­ment in the play­ers’ de­vel­op­ment.

And a prece­dent has al­ready been set.

In­dia, through their In­dian Premier League, made a con­tri­bu­tion equiv­a­lent to 10 per cent of the fees to the coun­tries in­volved and to the West In­dies Cricket Board for Chris Gayle, Mar­lon Samuels, Jerome Tay­lor, and An­dre Rus­sell for two years up to the West In­dies strike in In­dia a year ago.

That may have been a PR

ex­er­cise, but what­ever it was, it was not a part of the play­ers’ fee, as the board’s let­ter of re­fusal to Pol­lard first im­plied it should have been.

A third of the money from the IPL was kept by the West In­dies Board, a third was paid to the Ja­maica Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion, and a third was paid to the player’s club, to Lu­cas, Mel­bourne, St. El­iz­a­beth, and St. Cather­ine for their role in de­vel­op­ing the play­ers.

Right or wrong, and al­though the play­ers do not be­long to them, maybe that is why the West In­dies Board is looking in that di­rec­tion this time. Money is short, and he who feels it knows it.

Some­thing seems wrong, how­ever. Cricket Aus­tralia and Cricket South Africa say that the is­sue of fees was brought up by the West In­dies at a re­cent ICC meet­ing, but noth­ing was agreed. Michael Muir­head of the West In­dies Board, on the other hand, said he was told that it was agreed upon.

It’s all a mess, and espe­cially that de­spite ev­ery­thing, some­where along the line, Bangladesh ap­pears to have agreed to pay over 10 per cent of the play­ers’ fees to the West In­dies Cricket Board.

The West In­dies Cricket Board had bet­ter be care­ful it does not have an­other cri­sis on its hand.

Some­thing dis­rup­tive al­ways seems to hap­pen in West In­dies cricket ev­ery time some­thing good hap­pens.

Money is needed, and a fee for the ser­vices of top West In­dies play­ers play­ing around the world seems a good idea. But it must be well thought out, and it must be well thrashed out be­tween all con­cerned be­fore any de­ci­sion is taken, espe­cially as it con­cerns the prob­lem-rid­den West In­dies.


The West In­dies must be care­ful, espe­cially as a free for all, with ev­ery­body pay­ing in a tit­for-tat for­mula, could end up ben­e­fit­ting no one at all and, in par­tic­u­lar, the West In­dies, who have so many over­seas play­ers in their own CPL league.

It be could be penny wise, and pound fool­ish. On top of that, what would hap­pen if the or­gan­is­ers re­ally ob­jected to pay­ing the money? Would the West In­dies Cricket Board then call on the play­ers to pay it from their fees, or would the board then sus­pend them, or ban them from West In­dies cricket?

Back in the late 1980s, 1990s, and the early 2000s, dur­ing my time as the pres­i­dent of Mel­bourne, in the days of the Milo – Mel­bourne Fes­ti­val, plus the Pres­i­dent’s Lun­cheons, fish fries, bingo par­ties, and dances, back in the days when money was tight and it was dif­fi­cult mak­ing ends meet, the com­mit­tee came up with what we thought was a beau­ti­ful idea.

We were at that time, and even up to now, pro­duc­ing a fair num­ber of first-class play­ers and Test play­ers, in­clud­ing the great Michael Hold­ing and Court­ney Walsh, and we thought it would be a good idea if we were to get back a lit­tle of what we spent in de­vel­op­ing these play­ers into what they had be­come.


We fig­ured that the club should ask for five or 10 per cent of fees that any player re­ceived through cricket af­ter they had reached the stage of re­gional and in­ter­na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

We talked to the JCA about it many times, but noth­ing came of it. We thought of do­ing it alone, but then we fig­ured that would not make sense since all the play­ers had to do was, maybe, join an­other club.

It is over 20 years now that that sug­ges­tion was made, and ig­nored, and now I un­der­stand that the JCA will be hold­ing a meet­ing shortly to dis­cuss the same topic.

He who feels it knows it. The West In­dies Board needs money, the clubs need money, West In­dies cricket needs money, and one way of get­ting it is through the skill of their play­ers, or whicever play­ers they may be, once they are West In­di­ans.

Once upon a time, West In­dies play­ers were so good, so great, that they would make mil­lions of dol­lars for play­ing cricket any­where in the world.

This time around, and in this sort of cricket, there are some nuggets still around, in­clud­ing Gayle and Rus­sell, Pol­lard him­self and Car­los Brath­waite, but the West In­dies Board had bet­ter be care­ful. It had bet­ter trod gin­gerly.

This move was badly timed, and this move, as good as it seems, ap­pears rushed. It seems like a move de­signed to get back at cer­tain play­ers for say­ing cer­tain things, and that would de­feat the whole pur­pose, and all the good in­ten­tions.

Some things are not as bad as they some­times seem to be. Most times, it depends on how they are said, or writ­ten, or how they are pre­sented.



WICB CEO Michael Muir­head.

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