Disappointed by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)’s decision to make details of the new player contracts public, the nation’s cricketers have released a statement saying they are ‘shocked and dismayed’.
On May 19, SLC held a press conference to reveal details of the new contract system they had put in place. As per the modified pay structure, Sri Lankan players’ base salaries have been reduced, as performance-based incentives have been introduced.
Issuing a press release through Nishan Sydney Premathiratne, Attorney-at-Law, the official representative appointed by 24 members of the Sri Lankan cricket team, the players expressed their utter disappointment at the handling of the matter. The statement read:
“At the very outset, the players are shocked and dismayed that the Management Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket, through a press conference held on 19th May 2021, has seen it fit to release to the public, specific payment details of contract fees paid to specific players, in a one sided manner…”AdvertisementAdvertisement
In their statement, the Sri Lankan cricketers said that the conduct of the SLC has affected
Further, the players also termed the disclosures of payment details a ‘grave security concern to each and every player’. In the statement, the players lamented that none of them were provided the assessment sheets on the basis of which the grading was done by the SLC.
“During negotiations in respect of these Annual Contracts with SLC, it has always been the position of the players that they, in principle, are agreeable to a proper, transparent performance-based model, where each player would be assessed and categorised on attributes of performance. However, none of the players have been provided with their individual assessment sheets setting out how points were awarded under the criteria of performance, fitness, leadership and professionalism,” the statement said.
Don’t hold the players at gunpoint: Sri Lankan cricketers in statement
The Sri Lankan players also alleged that the SLC hurriedly attempted to get the signature of the players on the controversial contract a few hours before they were scheduled to depart for Bangladesh for the ODI series.
The statement clarified that none of the players would sign any unfair and non-transparent contracts while urging the Sri Lankan board not to hold their players at gunpoint.
“The Management Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket, in an unreasonable hurry, attempted to place hard copies of the Annual Contracts before the players to obtain their signature a few hours before the players were to depart to Bangladesh for the ODI series. At this juncture, the players’ concerns had not been addressed by Sri Lanka Cricket, and furthermore, the legal provisions of the contracts had not yet been formalised,” the statement said.Advertisement
The Sri Lankan players’ statement continued:
“The players are NOT in agreement to sign unfair and non-transparent contracts and urge SLC to not hold the players at gunpoint or give the players such ultimatums. Going forward, the players urge the SLC and the administrators to work on building the trust of the players, to be transparent in all matters and to fully address the concerns of players with a view to resolving the present dispute”.
Amid the player-board stand-off, Shammi Silva was, on Thursday, elected unopposed as the president of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for two years.
Following this development, the aggrieved players expressed confidence that cordial dialogue would commence to resolve the dispute.
What is the dispute between the Sri Lankan players and the SLC?
The Sri Lankan players are reportedly unhappy at the introduction of a new points-based grading system that would determine their future payments.
As per a report in The Sunday Times, players would be categorised into four different groups based on points. Fitness, discipline, performance in international and domestic cricket over the last two years, leadership and overall value to the team would be some of the factors to be taken into consideration in the new payment system.
Earlier, SLC Director of Cricket Tom Moody said in this regard:
“We are trying to do a very transparent and consistent process – the three selectors and head coach have got all the information, and it’s a thorough and a fair system for all the players, not only the senior players but all who are going to represent Sri Lanka in the year. This was not made out of thin air but by thorough research, looking at other countries and their examples of how they contract their players. We’ve put together what we thought was the best, most effective and fair system for Sri Lanka.”
The players have sought details about the assessment criteria, which the SLC is unwilling to share, leading to the current impasse.