Bargaining agreement deal stifled WICB plans, says director

St. John’s (Antigua), Jan 3 (IANS) West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Director Conde Riley has blamed the contentious Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), for some of the controversy which has plagued the regional game in recent years.

The outspoken Barbadian administrator made the point while speaking during the feature address at the Guyana Cricket Board’s Awards ceremony on Monday, reports Cana.

He also pointed out that the eventual renegotiation of the agreement two years ago allowed the WICB to make transformational changes to the game.

“Successive presidents and boards were stifled by a Collective Bargaining Agreement which was designed at the time when Sir Wesley Hall was president, to give players a voice in their professional management through the West Indies Players Association (WIPA),” the Chronicle newspaper quoted Riley as saying.

“The WICB finally got approval to renegotiate the old Collective Bargaining Agreement with WIPA and moved swiftly to spread the 25 per cent of its revenues, which is set aside for players’ salaries from 15 players to an additional 90 players and we also brought 10 ladies on board.”

The CBA was at the centre of many of the disputes which erupted between the WICB and players union, WIPA, and which had to be eventually resolved by the courts.

The agreement served as a labour contract, outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party with respect to terms and conditions for engagement of players, match fees, grievance procedures and several other issues covered under industrial relations.

Under the articles of the CBA, the old agreement would remain in force until a revised one was agreed to by both sides. Riley said it had been in WIPA’s interest in the past to leave the CBA in its original form.

“It suited the then leaders of WIPA to hang on to an outdated document that should have been renegotiated many years before the High Court in Trinidad said enough is enough and ruled that a new CBA be negotiated between the WICB and WIPA,” Riley said.

With the West Indies experiencing a steady decline over the last two decades, Riley said the WICB had been aware of the need to professionalise the domestic game, as the lack of such a structure was feeding the results at the international level.

“The board was aware that amateurs don’t beat professionals and whilst the richer members of the ICC had moved to professionalise their game decades before us… we were stuck by a combination of factors,” Riley noted.

“Over the last 10 years, following the domination of the Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards’ led teams, the decline in performance of our senior teams in ODIs and Test cricket has been slow and painful.”

–IANS

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