BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies cricket appeared headed for a return to normalcy yesterday after the two feuding parties announced an end to hostilities over several contentious contractual issues.
In a vague joint statement, the West Indies Cricket Board and West Indies Players Association said they had settled most of the issues that led to a strike by the region’s elite players and the selection of makeshift squads for the Bangladesh home series and the recent ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa.
The agreement follows a three-day meeting between WICB president Julian Hunte and WIPA head Dinanath Ramnarine, and comes a month ahead of the tour to Australia.
However, two issues remain in the balance and have been referred to arbitration, the joint statement said.
“WIPA and WICB have announced that all outstanding matters in dispute between the two bodies have been settled amicably,” the release noted.
“Only two outstanding matters – the issue regarding the India 2009 Tour and the issue of ‘Team Rights’ – will be referred to a special arbitration process as set out in the recommendations of the CARICOM Prime Ministerial Sub Committee on Cricket given on the 11th September 2009 and agreed to by the WICB and WIPA.
It was this intervention by CARICOM last month which set the stage for a possible resolution after the situation reached a stalemate following a failed mediation effort headed by Sir Shridath Ramphal.
CARICOM had rolled out a six-point plan aimed at ending the impasse, with both the WICB and WIPA committed themselves to the proposals put forward.
Under this plan, players were chiefly expected to make themselves available for selection in accordance with normal WICB requirements with the WICB expected to agree to television/image rights fees to be paid to players.
The proposal also asked for the WICB and WIPA to agree on the implementation of the “special arbitration process provided for in the mediator’s draft agreement, i.e. on team rights and the India tour.”
Yesterday, the two parties also announced they had agreed to begin negotiations “on or before” October 15 on a new long term Memorandum of Understanding/Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the view of finalizing this process by year end.
“Both parties are pleased that the Agreement reached creates an environment to engage in building a genuine partnership that can ensure the long term development and progress of West Indies cricket,” the statement said.
The contracts dispute crippled West Indies cricket and resulted in a second string squad being whipped 2-0 in Tests by Bangladesh and 3-0 in the One-Day International series.
In the Champions Trophy, the side lost every preliminary round match to be dumped from the tournament without a point.