In a previous blog post titled ‘SLC should recognize player agents, fix the system and avoid dirty politics‘, which I wrote in reference to SLC’s decision to NOT recognize player agents, I concluded that “Given that the agents are here to stay, to ignore them would only make it harder for SLC to control their influence on players and the sport. SLC would be better served under an environment where they do indeed recognise the agent in such a way that allows them to manage their influence on the players and the sport.”
The topic of cricket agents has received a lot of attention in the local media during the past few days including in The Island newspaper. In my previous post I made reference to and discussed some of the points made by the newspapers’ one such article. The newspaper published another article on the same topic titled “Removing the scourge of agents from hell” on 2/18/2013 which seems more or less a detailed elaboration of the same points made in their previous article. Points that are further elaborated in highlighting the unwelcome power and influence that agents have gained are:
• How agents have access to team decisions prior to even the cricket board hearing them.
• Attacks on the reputations of Chaminda Vass and T. M. Dilshan by a rival agent.
• Influence on cancelling the 2009 tour to England.
• Retaining an unfair percentage of the player earnings as commissions.
• Using local charities for their financial benefit.
• Being able to speak for the player and influencing the player with respect to matters pertaining to SLC (i.e. Maling and his injury).
Even with no insider information, if you have been a fan of Sri Lanka cricket, you’d have noticed enough evidence to believe the claims made in these newspaper articles. I am a reader of The Island and have enjoyed their coverage on cricket for years. What I however do still struggle to understand is why not a single newspaper, journalist, former cricketer, administrator or even an arm chair critique (even Mahela would appreciate one of them in this instance I bet) has spoken in favor of RECOGNIZING THE AGENTS THROUGH A CERTIFICATION OR ACCREDIDATION PROCESS as a means of eradicating this unfair, abusive and disruptive power that the handful of those current player agents have in Sri Lanka.
The author of the aforementioned articles in The Island indeed makes valid points to support the disruptions that these current agents have caused. However, I am not convinced that there had been any attempt made to explain how, by SLC simply unrecognizing the agents, these fearful plagues of agents and their disruptions would go away! My concerns as a cricket fan still remain with respect to the ability of these agents, in the current environment within which they operate, to continue to do harm to SLC. Even with no recognition from SLC, the agent can and will have complete access to the player and therefore the same information about team decisions, they can still engage in activity to bring harm to rival player reputations, influence key decisions like cancelling the tour to England (unless their liaison within the cricket board or sports ministry has abandoned them), manipulate player earnings, continue to have access to local resources that they will use or abuse to their advantage and will continue to tell the player what to do, if not necessarily speak for them.
My previous blog post arguing for the recognition of player agents should NOT be confused as a call to recognize the current group of agents. My suggestion was to introduce sports law or some mandate that requires player agents to be certified and recognized by SLC, in a manner that holds them to certain regulations, rules and code of conduct that protects the best interest of SLC. Under such a regulated, strict and imposable set of rules that govern the agents, we surely might be able to get rid of these rogue agents and allow our players the opportunity to obtain the service of honest professionals. I would also like to repeat again that this will only work with refined player contracts that put in place the necessary rules and regulations to address player agreed as well.
With no journalist, pundit or even an arm chair critique to support my argument for a certification or licensing process as a means of cleaning up the dirty, stinky and ugly stains left by the current player agents, I found one credible source to give me new found hope that perhaps I am not day dreaming!
This is a link (PDF) to a document titled “Introduction to ACA Player Agent Accreditation Scheme”. With the support and blessing of Cricket Australia, in acknowledging the need for an official RECOGNIZATION PROCESS FOR PLAYER AGENTS, cricket Australia players association states “The ACA Player Agent Accreditation Scheme (Scheme) has been established by the Australian Cricketers’ Association Inc. (ACA), with the support of Cricket Australia (CA), in recognition of the fact that its members may choose to engage professional contract and/or management representation services during their careers as professional cricketers.”. ….”Accordingly, the ACA considers that the interests of its members are enhanced by monitoring, maintaining and endeavoring to enhance the standards of knowledge, integrity, competence, conduct, performance and professionalism of the Agents associated with Australia’s professional cricketers.”….” To this end, CA and the ACA have agreed that (with only limited exceptions), as from 1 March 2013, CA, State Associations, BBL Teams and the ACA will only deal with Accredited Agents in player contract discussions.”
I was looking for at least an arm chair critique to tell me that I am not without reason and I find myself thinking alike with CA! Hopefully in due time SLC (or the sports ministry) will recognize the need to deal with the problem rather than to ignore or unrecognized it and hope it goes away. Hopefully, the impending new player contracts will address the loopholes that have been abused by a few of the players who want to have the cake and eat it too. Well, once we do that, we’ll only be left with having to clean-up the “political cronies”, as they are described by The Island, running the affairs at SLC. But wait, isn’t that what we have elections for? Vote wisely next time my friends!
URL to ACA document: http://www.auscricket.com.au/site/_content/document/00000197-source.pdf