Sri Lanka cricketers 'unhappy'
By Saroj Pathirana | March 14, 2013
Sri Lanka's cricketers are unhappy despite signing their contracts, according to the Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association (SLCA).
"They signed the contracts because they wanted to play for Sri Lanka, even though the contracts had reduced their salary," Ken de Alwis, the general secretary of the SLCA told BBC Sinhala.
"The players are unhappy because what is due to them has been taken away. At the same time, they are still willing to accept these cutbacks because they know the situation the cricket board is in."
But Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Upali Dharmadasa told BBC Sinhala that the cricketers were not unhappy with their new contracts.
"The media portrayed this contract issue as a huge problem, but that wasn't the case," Dharmadasa said.
"You say that the cricketers left in the midst of negotiations because they were not satisfied, and that they were unhappy, and we shoved this deal down their throats, but that never happened.
"Tell me who these players are that were unhappy and not satisfied with their contracts."
A percentage from fees from the International Cricket Council (ICC), paid to the players to compensate them for the use of their images during ICC tournaments, will no longer be given to the players under SLC's new contract terms, which has been one of the primary issues for the players during the contract standoff.
The 25-percent share paid to players from the ICC payment has been issued to Sri Lankan cricketers since 2003, SLCA's de Alwis stated.
Nearly 67-percent of board revenue, SLC officials argue, is utilised to pay 23 players, but the SLCA states that no documents have been provided to verify the accuracy of those claims.
"We provide the players with all facilities, and if we are to continue paying 67-percent of our annual revenue to players, how do we develop domestic cricket and sustain this in the future," Dharmadasa said.
The SLC president disputed that the cricketers have been receiving these benefits since 2003, and added that it was only in 2009 that they were provided to them.
He further added that the players were provided documents by SLC to prove to them that 67-percent of the board's annual income was indeed utilised to pay the top 23 players.
The SLCA however states that other cricket boards, unlike Sri Lanka, who up until the new contracts were paying their players only 25-percent of the ICC image rights fees, were paying their players the entire sum.
"We spoke to five nations, and they all stated that 100-percent of the ICC image rights fees are disbursed to the players' association, which the players' association then hands out to players in those countries," de Alwis said. "We know that not one cent goes to those boards from these ICC fees.
"We do not know about India and Pakistan, but out of the rest of the boards, it appears as though only Sri Lanka are holding back these fees meant for players."
But Dharmadasa says other nations and Sri Lanka must not be compared.
The contract crisis, eventhough the players signed their contracts this year, appears to not have been fully resolved, and is likely to resurface.
This article first appeared on BBC Sinhala. It has been translated to English and republished here with permission from the author.
© BBC/Saroj Pathirana