West Indies Player Association’s Director raises concerns over WICB’s spending spree
The West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) has expressed concern about a recent press statement in which the CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is quoted as saying that the upcoming Caribbean T20 Tournament will cost the WICB over US$3million. WIPA pointed out that the spend from this year’s event would now be added to the US$3 million which the WICB spent on last year’s tournament. In all, the WICB would have spent over US$6million in the past seven (7) months on the two tournaments and they are yet to find a sponsor for this and other regional and international tournaments despite WIPA’s willingness to assist.
Although the WICB claims that this represents an investment aimed at attracting foreign investors and broadcasters, building a tournament and improving the brand of West Indies Cricket, they have not disclosed how much more they are expecting to spend in the future and what exactly they hope to achieve in both the short and long-run.
Under normal circumstances, it is expected that any major investment like this would have a clearly defined plan which would indicate when and how much they expect these “investments” to add to the Board’s revenue streams. In fact the WICB’s CEO is quoted when asked about the tournament’s profitability as saying: “While we would like it to be, CT20 is not yet a profit making event by any stretch of the imagination”. Commenting on this contradiction, WIPA Director Michael Hall said, “Now our imaginations are being stretched even more”.
Hall also questioned the Board’s sudden turnaround in their outlook on spending. He said, “This massive spend on the CT20 is in direct contrast to a statement made by the WICB CEO in January 2010, when the number of first class domestic matches in a season was reduced to amongst the world’s lowest number in any test playing country”.
Hilaire had said then that: “It is a basic law of financial management that you spend what you have the capacity to earn. To do otherwise is to court with financial disaster. The WICB has limited resources which have been further affected by the global economic crisis. This places a major challenge to balance the critical components of a cricket development programme with the limited resources that are available in the present circumstances. Let us not pretend that WICB has unlimited resources”.
About eight months later, the public was also made aware of the WICB’s supposed need to borrow substantial sums of money using the revenue from the television fees for future tours as collateral.
Now, the WICB is spending what seems to be more than its capacity to earn and is courting the same financial disaster to which the WICB CEO referred
Hall stressed that, “With absolutely no disrespect intended to the two English county teams invited, their participation is costing the WICB US$ One (1) Million Dollars (and is not dependent on whether these teams win or not) which is one third of the tournament’s entire budget” Additionally he pointed out that, “It will cost over US$ 1 million for producing and broadcasting the event, and the remaining US$ 1 Million will be used for accommodation and travel for the Canadian Cricket team and team officials, umpires, other match officials, WICB marketing staff, WICB Communications staff, WICB Cricket Operations staff, WICB Player Welfare staff, WICB Executives and WICB Board members, WICB hospitality, meals, economy travel and accommodation for the seven (7) regional teams and player fees.”
In other words, the needs of the regional players who provide “the entertainment” and on whom the possibilities for increasing the Board’s revenue depend are again squarely relegated to the back burner. It is not difficult to predict a scenario in which the players will once more have to go to Arbitration to get what is duly and rightfully owed to them for this and other matters as a result of what certainly appears to be poor decision making by the WICB,
WIPA, however, notes the statement by the WICB: “But also important for the WICB is the fact that T20 has become a huge commercial entity that we want to be able to give our players maximum global coverage to allow them to be attractive to other T20 leagues around the world”.
Director Hall said, “With that being said we would now fully expect the Board to support all players who have obtained and who will in future obtain contracts to play overseas in this format of the game without any issues as has been the case in the past.”