FICA to recommend SLPL boycott without bank guarantee

Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) has said it will deter players from taking part in the 2013 Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) unless tournament organisers honour the bank guarantees clause in player contracts. FICA CEO Tim May said his organisation had made repeated requests for proof of the bank guarantees, but SLC and their promotions partner Somerset Entertainment Ventures (SEV) had failed to provide it.

“I can categorically state that if the bank guarantees are not sighted by the relevant date for next year’s tournament, we will be recommending players not to travel to Sri Lanka until the guarantees are sighted by FICA and agreed to be in a form suitable for its purpose,” May said.

The contracts stipulate that each SLPL franchise must provide bank guarantees for the total amount of players’ salaries. If the franchise fails to meet the payment schedule, players can then activate the guarantees after a seven-day period in order to receive their pay. Players were due to receive 25% of their salary upon arrival in Sri Lanka, a further 25% on the day of their franchise’s first game, and the remaining 50% on the day of the team’s final SLPL match.

“Non-production of these bank guarantees is a major breach of the player contract,” May said. “The bank guarantees were instrumental in obtaining many players’ signatures to participate in this event.”

SEV CEO Sandiip Bhammer says franchises were unable to acquire bank guarantees because the process of getting guarantees for each individual franchise would have taken too long and was too complicated. He said tournament organisers had instead asked franchises to acquire a pay order for the total amount of player salaries and they had in turn shown proof of these pay orders to FICA.

“I don’t understand what FICA’s problem is,” Bhammer said. “FICA only come in if there is a problem with player payments, but in this case, they have all been paid in full.”

“A pay order is in fact a stronger guarantee of player payment than a bank guarantee, because it means that a certain amount of money is blocked off and becomes accessible to players if there has been a breach of payment.”

May said that the SLPL players had been paid “largely on time” but that several players from one franchise were yet to receive 50% of their pay, though as the local players of that franchise had been paid in full, the money may still be on its way into the foreign players’ accounts. He also said that Uva Next, who had delayed the second installment of payment to players, only paid their dues after being threatened with player withdrawal.

Bhammer said he was certain that all players who participated in the SLPL had been paid in full.

“When Uva Next were late to pay their players, Tim May insisted that the franchise pay the players 100% of their salary while the tournament was still going, which wasn’t something that was in their contracts. We ensured that the Uva team forked out more money than they were contractually obligated to do, so they actually ended up paying 75% of salaries before the tournament ended.”

Bhammer said he was not concerned by FICA’s threat to deter players from travelling to the SLPL in future.

“The best adjudicators here are the players themselves. Several of them have come out in the media and said they enjoyed the tournament and would be glad to play in it again. You don’t really need a better endorsement than that.”

The SLPL did not use a player auction to determine player salaries, but instead contracted players for a pre-determined sum before players were assigned to a franchise via a draft. The three-week tournament ended on August 31. (Cricinfo)